Africa-focused micro-lender, Letshego is yet to come back to the Bank of Botswana (BoB) for a fresh banking license application, an official has said.
This comes after the central bank rejected its application some months ago, for undisclosed reasons. The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted firm’s ambition to have turned into a fully-fledged commercial bank this year seems to have faded; at least for now. “As far as I know, we have not re-applied for a banking license,” said Communications and Marketing Officer, Mmadiofa Pilara.
She didn’t give further information on whether they will still apply or not. Written questions to the micro-lender sent earlier in the week, were not responded to at press time. In an interview before she left, former Managing Director Jan Claassen said the idea was to polish it and apply again. “We are working on refining the application and submitting it again,” said Claassen in April. Chris Low, the new Managing Director could not be reached to confirm if they are still on course to re-apply.
The central bank is reported to have raised concerns on its model of operations (once approved) in their earlier banking license application. While the bank’s plan to go into retail banking in Botswana are yet to be realised, their Mozambique operation was scheduled to have started deposit taking activities last month (November). According to a statement accompanying the group’s six-month results to July 2013, the move will push the company’s drive to become a diversified financial service boutique. Letshego is also planning to raise more cash to fund its expansion in the African region. The African push will be done through brownfield and Greenfield projects. Letshego, which has a market capitalisation of nearly P5 billion, has acquired Micro Africa Finance, a development, which has exposed it to markets such as Rwanda and Kenya.
On a related matter, the firm was scheduled to have sold all its shares at Letshego Zambia, due to market challenges in the copper-rich country. At the close of markets on Wednesday, the company’s shares traded at 230thebe.