Lesotho: Standard Bank Launches Instant Loans for SMMEs

In yet another ground-breaking development, Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) this week introduced instant loans for small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs).

The facility, which is part of the bank's digital lending offering is a value-added service which allows business customers, especially SMMEs to access "quick and hassle-free instant loans with no queues and very minimal paperwork".

"This new offering is an addition to digital lending that was introduced last year for personal clients," a statement from the bank said yesterday.

"To qualify, business customers must demonstrate a clean account conduct. Customers also have to maintain a clean credit record with up to date tax clearance and valid traders' licence.

"Qualifying businesses will receive text messages from the bank, then they call the Enterprise Direct toll-free line to access the funds instantly upon confirmation of the one-time pin (OTP)."

The instant loans offer is a response to the longstanding challenge on accessing finance and the

time it takes for manual loan applications to be approved, especially for SMMEs. With digital loans being processed within a day, the new solution also demonstrates and reaffirms the bank's commitment to providing cutting edge solutions for Basotho businesses, so that they have more time to invest on growing their businesses than spending it in the banking halls, the statement said. "The solution also responds to the challenge of many business owners, who are predominantly sole proprietors when requiring lending to finance their working capital needs, where they will now be able to access instant loans without collateral and financial statements."

SLB head of personal and business banking Selloane Tsike said the innovative solution was proof that the bank is aggressively breaking the barriers to finance for the business sector.

"As a leading bank, we are proud that we now have a quick and easy solution that provides SMMEs the much-needed loans that will surely help them to serve their clients better, grow and be more profitable. This not only helps their individual businesses, but Lesotho's economy as a whole," Ms Tsike said.

She also impressed upon customers to maintain good account conduct by honouring their loan obligations and other financial commitments at all times so that they can benefit from "these fast and convenient loans".

"The solution has no human intervention but is highly automated. The system only takes into consideration one's account history and conduct and should an entrepreneur have a negative account status with regards to their obligations, they will not qualify."

Digital loans offered by SLB are the first of their kind in Lesotho.

"Digital loans are a testament to the bank's strategy towards digitisation and customer centricity, delivering fit for purpose solutions that meet and exceed our clients' expectations," the bank said.

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