Micro-finance for Trustco
An investigation by the Economist this week revealed that Trustco Group International (TGI) may well be setting its sights on acquiring micro-financing institution, Fides Bank.
Upon enquiry, a spokesperson of TGI told the Economist that he could not comment and said, “At this stage you will understand that I am not at liberty to speak. The majority of what you have asked has been answered by the announcement released.”
A cautionary statement issued last week advised Trustco shareholders that negotiations had been entered into for the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of a Namibian incorporated authorised banking institution which holds a permanent banking licence under the Namibian Banking Institutions Act of 1998.
The acquisition of the bank was subject to relevant board and regulatory approvals, including the approval of the Bank of Namibia. The acquisition is expected to be completed 30 days after the announcement was made.
SME Bank Chief Executive Officer Tawanda Mumvuma, when queried by the Economist said, “Has it [SME Bank] ever been for sale? SME Bank is not for sale and I doubt it will ever be for sale.”
The SME Bank is majority owned by the Namibia Financing Trust, which holds 65%, while the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe holds a 30% stake in the financial institution with Enoch Kamushinda, a Zimbabwean businessman owning a 5% stake in the bank.
As at 2014, only six financial institutions held permanent banking licences according to a statement furnished by the Bank of Namibia to the Economist. Top of the list are the four commercial banks; First National Bank of Namibia Limited, Bank Windhoek Limited, Standard Bank Namibia Limited, and Nedbank Namibia Limited. The other two are SME Bank Limited and micro-lender FIDES Bank Namibia Limited.
A seventh institution, E-Bank Limited, has provisional authorization and will be granted final authorization in terms of the Act after fulfilling some specified conditions within the period of time required by the Bank according to the statement issued to the Economist by the central bank. But E-Bank is a fledgling undertaking originating in the PointBreak stable run by Monic Kalondo, and is not at a tradeable point. When contacted, FIDES Bank Namibia Managing Director Karen Everding was out of the country and could not be reached at the time of going to press. FIDES Bank Namibia was granted a banking licence in February 2010 after the successful completion of a micro-lending pilot project catering for the financial needs of the rural population in the north of Namibia. FIDES Bank was the first and remains the country’s only formal micro-finance institution.