Bayport lauded for responsible lending

Father Maphongo
Father Maphongo

Local micro-lending firm, Bayport Financial Services, has received international recognition for responsible lending with the award of a “Smart Campaign” certification.

The Smart Campaign certification is an independent global endorsement that provides an “objective seal of confidence that a financial institution is doing everything it can to treat its clients well and protect them from harm.” The initiative has guided world leading microfinance institutions.

Addressing journalists on Friday, Bayport Executive Chairman Father Maphongo said the smart campaign certification is an achievement for the country, adding that the company could not have achieved it without the regulatory framework the government has put in place.

“The certifications mean that Bayport Botswana’s policies and practices uphold the Smart Campaign’s Seven Client Protection Principles. These principles cover important areas such as pricing, transparency, fair and respectful treatment and prevention of over-indebtedness,” he said.

With the certification, Bayport Botswana becoming the first credit provider in Africa to receive Client Protection from the Smart Campaign.

Further Maphongo attributed their success to the Bayport’s mobile agent distribution model, which takes its services directly to the customer saying that it has been a major contributor to Bayport Botswana’ s success.

Having completed the certification process, Bayport Botswana now joins 29 other unsecured lenders from Latin America, Eastern Europe and South Asia that have been certified. “Over-indebtness is a problem in the country,with many consumers taking on more debt than they can afford. We have been working with relevant stakeholders to address the issue and to help strengthen regulations to protect consumers against unscrupulous micro-lenders.”

The smart campaign aims to improve client protection in the microfinance industry through better understanding and use of client protection principles by micro finance institutions. Bayport Botswana which is celebrating its fifth year in Botswana currently has 14 branches across the country with 74 full time employees and 100 service agents who service about 10 000 customers.

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