Unifi becomes the 18th financial institution to open a branch in Lira City

(Last Updated On: 1 April 2023)

The cost of accessing money due to high-interest rates is one among many factors that many in Uganda continue to grapple with as they seek financial boosts for their businesses or to cushion some shocks of life.

Although the Central Bank rate usually hovers around 18 percent, most financial institutions charge up to 23 percent for the monies they lend to the public.

Fortunately, for salaried people working in the formal sector, there is good news and a sigh of relief as Unifi opens its branch in Lira City.

Unifi, a lending microfinance institution officially opened its Lira City branch for business on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. The branch is located on Obote Avenue at the former NSSF offices.

Lira City Council Mayor Sam Atul, during the launch, called on the borrowers to be “faithful”.

According to Atul, banking institutions charge high-interest rates because of a lack of trust in customers who default on their loans, and added “this would come down when people start being faithful and repay the loans timely”.

“This beautiful city is blessed with beautiful and hardworking people, and I know now you are begging to appreciate that when we are referred to as a commercial and industrial city, it is because of the hard work of the people,” Mayor Atul added.

Mr. Atul also appealed to the borrowers to be disciplined and stick to the core purpose of why they intend to borrow money to avoid the temptations of diverting loans to other divestitures.

The City Mayor also disclosed that Unifi is the 18th financial institution to open its branch in Lira which is not the case in other cities apart from Kampala.

“Lira did not become a City through begging but because of the creativity and hard work of the dwellers,” Atual boasted, citing oil seed productions which are done on a massive scale.

To the Unifi officials who flew from South Africa, Atul asked them to strengthen mutual relations between the two countries (Uganda and South Africa) and provide markets for some of the local products from Lango sub-region.

Among customers who testified to the goodness of Unifi was Stella Oleke, the territorial marketing manager for Multi-Choice Uganda in Lango sub-region. Oleke told the event that at the beginning of the school term, she urgently needed to pay school fees and the ‘Unifi loan came in handy,’ besides, she says the interest rates are friendly.

“’ I am Geoffrey Acur, and I am a driver in Alebtong, I got to know Unifi through a friend, there was a day I was so stuck and I didn’t have anything at home, then I came to Unifi. When I reached here, they welcomed me with smiles and they looked through my documents and within five minutes I got my money and they also gave me five Kgs of rice, I was so happy,” another happy customer narrated his story.

Robinah Ajuku is another lucky customer who got rewarded with a brand-new phone for referring clients. “I was that client who won a Samsung Galaxy phone. When I heard about Unifi, I said let me come and try my luck and then I also referred a friend and later I got a call that I have won a phone because I have been referring clients to them,” she told the house.

Daphne Kemuntu, the marketing manager of Unifi disclosed that currently they are giving out loans to civil servants who earn salaries through the bank as they intend to roll out other packages.

She says one only requires a one-month bank statement, a payslip, and a national ID, and the loan is processed and approved within 20 minutes.

According to Kemuntu, customers can also log on to credit and enter their details: the NIN number, where one works to form, and how much he or she earns. And when that is tabulated, they can get to know how much they qualify before going to the branch.

She further explained that a customer who refers another person earns a referral commission of shillings 20,000, adding that Unifi has also rolled out a campaign dubbed “excuse my loan” where existing customers will be entered into a randomized draw and the lucky customer gets their loans waived off.

Unifi has her footprints in countries such as Zambia and Kenya but so far they have 8 branches in Uganda, five are in Kampala and three are upcountry including Lira and Jinja. Globally, it has 49 branches.

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