The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Banking on the church's promise

In Tanzania, a Lutheran bank invests in lives and reaps the profits

When farmers in Tanzania’s north want to take out a loan or earn interest on their savings, they go to Moshi, on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. That’s where the 330,000 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania’s Northern Diocese run a bank. Not only are these Lutherans improving the lives of the poor, they’re also making a profit.

Lutheran World Federation/seth kitange<BR><BR>Anjela
Anjela Moshi is a loan manager for Uchumi, a bank that is an outreach of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The bank offers loans and savings accounts for poor people who would be ineligible at most other commercial banks.
Opened three years ago, Uchumi Commercial Bank Ltd. offers poor farmers and others financial services at low interest rates while directing savings to ethical investments. Lutherans saw the bank as a needed ministry since poor people couldn’t get loans or open savings accounts at mainstream commercial banks.

“When we started, the projections were that we would make profits after three or five years,” said Fahanaeli Andrew Kihunrwa, the bank’s general manager. “But in one year and three months we started making profits. So people have been wondering how we did it.

“The simplest answer they find is that this is church-based. God is with them.”

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February issue


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