Nedbank Lesotho celebrates 20 years

Nedbank Lesotho celebrates 20 years

MASERU – TWENTY years ago, Nedbank Lesotho opened its doors to the public.
It only had three branches. From those small beginnings, the bank has now grown into a dominant player in the financial services sector. It now has 10 fully fledged branches offering top-notch services to its clients.

It was therefore fitting that last Thursday, the bank celebrated its 20-year anniversary at a glittering ceremony in Maseru.
Nedbank Lesotho Managing Director, P J Bouwer, said the bank is now the second largest bank in terms of its asset base.
“So far it is the only bank that opens on Sundays and the first bank to launch internet banking when banking services were limited to branches only,” Bouwer said.

“We were the first and only bank with a locally managed credit card.”
The bank also financed the construction of Pioneer Mall, Lesotho’s first mall.
“All of what we have done affirms our commitment to do good for the people,” Bouwer said.

Speaking on behalf of clients, former foreign affairs minister and diplomat, Mohlabi Tsekoa, said it has been a glorious journey since he first joined Nedbank in 1997 when it was launched.
“1997 to 2017 has been a glorious journey and a journey travelled with a provision of quality services with leading banking business in the Kingdom,” Tsekoa said.

“Nor shall we forget that that journey was not free of challenges, the challenges of a changing socio-economic terrain, of impending socio-political environment and sometimes of a struggling economy,” he said.
Tsekoa said Nedbank travelled this journey amidst those challenges.
“The massive challenge is of building teams. You cannot lead a respectable private institution if you do not have winning teams,” Tsekoa said.
The bank should continue doing a good job as it has done for the past two decades, he said.
Tsekoa said the work of leading an efficient banking system in Lesotho and ensure there is diversification within the banking environment is not easy.
Tsekoa said there is still room for improvement for the bank as it has no branch in Mokhotlong.

“One time our family was unveiling a tombstone. Because there is no Nedbank in Mokhotlong, I had to travel to Butha-Buthe to cash the cheque to finish off the business in Mokhotlong,” Tsekoa said. Tsekoa said Mokhotlong is the economic hub of the country because of its “wool and mohair, diamonds and now the construction of Polihali dam is coming up”.

“Really, on behalf of people in Mokhotlong, we need the bank,” Tsekoa said.
“Nedbank should not just be a bank of Maseru, Leribe, Mafeteng but should be a bank of Lesotho,” he said.
“Banks should accept that innovation is the only way forward. In a ruthless competitive world that we live in today and in the banks there is no exception. This should be done in order to equal or surpass those working in the business with you,” Tsekoa said.
The Minister of Finance, Moeketsi Majoro, said the banking sector has a concept of ‘know your client’ which means that the bank must know the client that walks through its door.

“But in Lesotho the clients are not walking through the door but are outside,” Majoro said.
“Know the demographic situation of the client. Many of the people who are going to end up as entrepreneurs are primary and high school drop-outs,” he said.

“They do not have the normal skills that make it easy for (them to get) jobs but they are hustlers. Know that the 20 big borrowers of the bank are not the people who have gone long into school,” he said. “You would have known your clients through this.”
Majoro said Nedbank should be innovative moving forward. He encouraged Nedbank to create more partnerships especially in the borrowing space.

Rose Moremoholo

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