Namibia's first-ever SME Bank, which provides collateral free loans of between N$6000 and N$50 000, is now fully operational with its head office in Windhoek.
While a date for the official opening of the much-anticipated SME financial services provider is still to be determined, the bank has already appointed Tawana Mumvuma, from the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe, as acting managing director.
The Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe (MetBank) is a 30 percent shareholder in the SME Bank, while the Namibian government owns 51 percent, the Namibia Financing Trust 14 percent and Zimbabwean businessman Enock Kamushinda owns the remaining 5 percent.
Towards the end of last year the Bank of Namibia finally issued a banking license for the new institution after a protracted process whereby the bank was asked to review its shareholding structure. The BoN "wishes to extend best wishes to SME Bank Limited on its future endeavours in the banking sector", said BON's Ndangi Katoma, director of strategic communications and financial sector development.
In February last year, then Trade and Industry Minister Dr Hage Geingob, committed N$60 million to the bank as start-up capital that would be provided by the Namibian government. In addition, Zimbabwean foreign investors and shareholders in MetBank would invest between N$14 million and N$18 million. Geingob added that the SME bank would open its first branches in Katutura, the north, the coast and the eastern part of Namibia before it spreads countrywide.