Burundi's banking system has problems, but its fundamentals are sound.
Really. Despite a lot of bad loans, most banks are firmly in the black. They have a great deal of liquidity -- most are well above their reserve requirements, with surpluses invested in safe government bonds. (Strange but true: since its founding in 1962, Burundi's Central Bank has never defaulted on a bond payment.) The bad loan problem is partially balanced by the fact that most good loans are overcollateralized -- for a $100,000 loan, banks will require $125,000 or $150,000 of security. Burundi hasn't seen an asset boom, so those valuations are surprisingly solid.
And because the system is very small, it's transparent in spite of itself -- despite lacking most of the formal mechanisms for credit analysis (credit bureaus and the like), everyone in Bujumbura knows who the bad actors are. There's no secondary mortgage market, which is a pity, but which also means they don't have to worry about lack of transparency in rebundled loans.
High interest rates and low operating costs have kept the banks' margins up. Conservatism and timidity -- they like only a few sorts of loans, mostly to import/export companies and construction, and they dislike loans of longer than a year or two -- have sharply limited the banks' ability to fund development projects, but they've also limited their exposure. Because they do just a few safe things, they're not in any danger.
So, it just struck me: in many regards Burundi's financial system is in better shape than the United States'.