Letshego – a Leading pan-African Inclusive Financial Institution
Letshego, a leading pan-African inclusive financial institution operating in eleven African markets spanning Southern, Eastern and Western African is expanding certain initiatives to further enhance its financial inclusion impact as well as its customers’ convenience.
Letshego has an innovative mobile product which uses the USSD-system to allow customers to move money from their Letshego current accounts to their mobile money accounts to facilitate convenient mobile money payments. Convenient access to money is of course a key driver of customer behaviour in terms of choosing to participate in formal savings. Letshego has rolled out this product in markets where it has a deposit-taking licences, including Mozambique and Rwanda. Similar products are planned for other markets where Letshego is licenced to collect deposits, such as Namibia, which is in final testing, and Nigeria.
Letshego also has a USSD-system for the disbursement of mobile micro loans, including in markets where Letshego is not a licenced deposit-taker, such as Kenya, where Letshego has made 72,000 such loans to-date. It is expected that this product will be rolled out in 2017 into Rwanda and to the recently acquired business in Ghana.
Letshego is looking at expanding to additional markets its highly successful agency model pioneered in its business in Tanzania. Letshego Bank Tanzania, formerly Advans Bank Tanzania, in which Letshego acquired a majority stake in 2015, now has over 105 agents operating across Tanzania. The agents, which are mainly small vendors, out-number the number of formal bank branches in the business by twenty-to-one. Letshego also owns Faidika in Tanzania, a separately regulated entity, which has been operating in payroll lending since 2006. All of the Faidika’s branches are now operating as agents to Letshego Bank Tanzania. Letshego sees significant synergies between its two operations in Tanzania, however at the current time it has no plans to combine the two entities.
At December 2016 Letshego had a loan book in excess of USD 650 million in aggregate across its geographies, making it the largest pan-African inclusive finance institution without operations in South Africa. Over the last 5 years Letshego has been expanding progressively, both geographically, into Eastern and Western Africa, and by product, increasing its MSME, housing and educational lending. Verdant Capital is currently arranging a debt capital raise for Letshego to support its ongoing loan book growth.