By Hilary Mare
IN a bid to grow its franchise by diversifying into deposit-taking capabilities, Letshego Holdings Namibia has raised over N$90 million worth of deposits, the firm’s 2017 integrated annual report released last Friday reveals.
Letshego Holdings Namibia secured a full commercial banking licence for Letshego Bank Namibia in 2016 which enabled it to offer more comprehensive financial services in Namibia inclusive of deposit taking.
Together, Letshego Bank Namibia and previously only existing, Letshego Micro-Financial Services Namibia are subsidiaries of Letshego Holdings Namibia (LHN).
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Letshego Namibia, Ester Kali in the report highlighted that Letshego Holdings Namibia remains committed to providing services that are holistic across financial needs and with various stakeholders in the supply chain – covering savings, borrowings, payments and investment at a micro-level.
“We have reached over 52,000 borrowers and 116 depositors. Our consumer lending through a deduction at source model remains our core business and we continue to be leaders in our market – we currently retain the dominant market share for micro-loans in Namibia through our deduction at source solution. This enables us to advance our inclusive Namibian agenda nationwide by providing access to those who are financially underserved,” said Kali.
Kali went on to highlight that another highlight in the year 2017 was Letshego Namibia’s successful listing on the NSX on 28 September 2017; a significant milestone in laying firms foundation and building a legacy in Namibia.
“We adopted a first-of-its-kind approach to launching a financially inclusive Initial Public Offer (IPO) in the country by offering shares to ordinary Namibians. This was an empowerment opportunity for Namibia and was called ‘Ekwafo Letu’, meaning ‘our support’.
“Our IPO strategy reflected Letshego’s everyday manner of doing business, which is to take the time to extend our reach to Namibians located far and wide, empower individuals with increased awareness of the merits of managing their hard-earned money, and enhance customer experience with a simple, affordable and accessible share offer.”
Affirming this, Chairperson of Letshego Holdings Namibia, John Shepherd noted that the firm was looking forward to continued growth and believed that driving a financially inclusive agenda will help to achieve the broad-based economic development and poverty eradication needed in society.
“As a holder of a commercial deposit taking licence, Letshego Bank Namibia has already launched platforms that will enable it to offer broader and more financially inclusive customer services through its diversification into non-Governmental consumer lending, payment and saving solutions, as well as providing financial solutions to the micro and small entrepreneur segments.
“A high priority for L e t s h e g o Namibia is to know and understand its cust ome r s and to e n s u r e t h a t channels of communication between our customers and Letshego remain open and easily accessible. We seek to understand our customer needs and to provide innovative solutions that will address these needs. With our strategy for 2018 duly formalised, Letshego will begin to pave the way towards building a leading inclusive finance group in Namibia. We look forward to witnessing the positive impacts we will have on our communities,” notes Shepherd.
In 2017, Letshego Holdings Namibia listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) and at which point the market capitalisation was at N$1.9billion, representing 6 percent of the NSX’s primary listings market capitalisation. Post listing, Letshego Holdings Limited, the majority shareholder of Letshego Namibia, reduced from 85 percent to 79 percent. Letshego’s growth in Namibia is evidenced by the loan portfolio uptake, which has seen disbursements to customers over the period from acquisition to date of over N$2 billion (US$150 million) being released into the Namibian economy.
Letshego Namibia opened its doors in 2002 as Edu Loan Namibia. In 2008, Letshego Holdings Limited (LHL) acquired a hundred per cent of the company, soon after it re-branded to Letshego Financial Services Namibia. In due course, Letshego Namibia sold 15 percent of its share capital to a citizen investment unit.
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