BoN governor calls for closer cooperation between regulators and financial institutions

31 Jul 2017
 
Staff Reporter
 
Windhoek-Letshego Namibia has come full circle and celebrates just under a decade of inclusive finance with their launch of Letshego Bank Namibia’s broader based financial solutions.
 
As a member of the Botswana Stock Exchange listed Letshego Holdings Limited (LHL) Group, Letshego Namibia says it remains committed to driving its strategic intent of being recognised as Africa’s leading inclusive finance group.
This commitment was reaffirmed by Letshego’s Board of Directors and leadership at a gala event held in Windhoek on July 25 that brought together key stakeholders, including Governor of the Bank of Namibia Ipumbu Shiimi, government officials, industry leaders, partners and customers of Letshego.
 
At the event, Shiimi highlighted the progress on initiatives as set out in the Namibia Financial Sector Strategy and elaborated on a four-point agenda focused on regulatory framework and consumer protection, consumer literacy, access to financial services and local ownership of commercial banks, which later became a rallying point for financial inclusion.
 
The BoN governor stressed the need for collaboration between regulators and financial institutions to implement this agenda and enhance the financial sector. “I am delighted to note that Letshego Namibia has shown a strong commitment to become a strong player in the financial sector in Namibia,” he said.
 
He recalled the Chinese adage “a journey of thousand miles begins with the first step” and concluded his remarks by saying: ”I believe we have taken the first step toward financial inclusion. We have travelled some of that journey; we still have some more miles to get there, but get there we shall. Getting there, however, requires that all of us should continue to work hard as a team to create a sustainable and an inclusive financial sector for our children and their children’s future. I believe Letshego is one of the trailblazers on this journey; we look forward to continue travelling with you.”
 
Underscoring Letshego’s continued commitment to sustainable financial inclusion LHL Group managing director Chris Low said “The Bank of Namibia has been a champion of true financial inclusion,” adding “there is more to be done to deliver financial inclusion sustainably and our many stakeholders play a key role in this. This is because the unmet needs of low and middle-income earners are too significant to ignore.”
 
Letshego Bank Namibia affirmed its commitment to partnering with customers and communities, empowering them to become active participants in the economy. A major highlight in 2016 was the approval of the banking licence, which enables Letshego Namibia to accelerate its holistic inclusive finance offering to the financially under-served population in Namibia.
 
Later this year, the bank will go live with a wider launch of its solutions, led by its simple, easy to access LetsGo transactional account, opening up to productive credit, savings and insurance, and rewarding customers for responsible financial behaviour.
 
In addition, Letshego Namibia has supported strategically aligned social development. For example, in 2016, Letshego launched the Improving Life campaign, a customer incentive programme that rewarded customers’ responsible financial behaviour, such as financing education, housing investments and micro and small business development.
 
In Namibia, the campaign received over 2,900 entries in less than 3 months, and will be a recurring feature of Letshego’s customer engagement across Africa. The majority of customers’ usage was validated as going towards affordable housing and home improvement, agri-business, education, and healthcare.
 
Several of Letshego’s customers who had submitted inspiring accounts shared these on the evening and were further recognised by being awarded the first ever LetsGo customer accounts, including start-up balances. Additionally, the continued efforts from the team within the formal employment segment, combined with the brand-aligned Improving Life campaign, realised loan portfolio growth of 18 percent from 2015 levels to N$2.2bn in 2016.
 
“We will persist with financial education, as we roll out more and more digital financial services with our LetsGo account, and as we engage with micro and small entrepreneurs, informal workers and more people in the formal sector to pay, borrow, save and live in a sustainable way,” concluded Letshego Holdings Namibia CEO Ester Kali.
 
“It gives us all at Letshego great pleasure to witness the growth of our customers to levels that even exceed our own expectation – indeed, their drive and resilience is humbling to me.” Kali said.