Motshelo goes mainstream and grows

Barclays' Motshelo account is a crowd puller
Barclays' Motshelo account is a crowd puller

Barclays Bank Botswana launched its Motshelo product in September 2012, providing a formal banking avenue for thousands of previously unserved Batswana in the savings cooperatives. Staff Writer, MBONGENI MGUNI, catches up with the bank’s Liabilities Product Manager, Lonyalo Sefena on the progress of the uniquely Botswana offering

Mmegi: How has the Motshelo product performed in 2015 in terms of numbers of accounts and/or value of deposits?

Sefena: The Motshelo product continues to grow year-on-year as Batswana realise the importance of safeguarding their contributions as well as proper reconciliation through bank statements. More accounts were opened this year and the value of the pot has been increasing. During the first quarter of 2015, we launched ‘Boost Your Motshelo campaign’ where we saw an increase of motshelo groups taking the solution.  At the end of the campaign we had six motshelo groups winning a P5,000 boost into their motshelo account.

Mmegi: What trends, in terms of the ages, geographic distribution and others among Motshelo account holders have you noted this year?

Sefena: The practice is still synonymous with the mature market due to obvious reasons of income, stability and trust.

In relation to the young market, the practice still seems conservative, however, we do have the youth in tertiary institutions coming forth to take the solution.

Therefore, there is still more opportunities to position the solution amongst the youth. The solution has been embraced across the country as more customers are on-boarded across our branch network.

Mmegi: From your interactions with clients, what issues have members been grappling with this year?

Sefena: Issues of motshelo remain the same and need the groups to tighten their ways of operations. These issues relate to default in payments as well as attacks by thieves during or post sharing of pay-outs. Therefore there is need for motshelo groups to tighten the way they establish their groups since trust is solely the key to on-boarding group members. Furthermore, groups should ensure that disbursements of funds is made into member accounts where funds can be accessed through debit cards which can be blocked instantly once stolen unlike going about with large sums of money.

Mmegi: Inflation has continued at very low levels throughout 2016. What is your comment on the impact of this trend on the motshelo product? 

Sefena: Inflation is a key element of the economy and has an overall bearing on income and savings. Therefore since prices have gone low this year, this is an opportunity for the motshelo groups to save more in order to receive more and achieve their goals.

Mmegi: What are your objectives for this product going into 2016?

Sefena: Motshelo product has been and will continue to be the ideal savings vehicle for Batswana.  It has passed the test of time.  Therefore there are plans in place to enhance the product in order to give more to our customers and help them prosper.

Mmegi: Any last words?

Sefena: The Barclays Motshelo account is a group savers account, which offers metshelo a safer holding place for their contributions. The solution is operated by two signatories on behalf of the group with a minimum opening balance of P500.

Group members are allowed free deposits, free first chequebook and free accidental death cover of P2,000 for 10 members of the group. Proper reconciliation is enabled through monthly statements and no formal constitution or registration certificate is required to open the account, making it easier for household savers to access and utilise banking services.

 Motshelo product is not merely a financial instrument; it fulfills social and psychological needs which help in building the community.  The solution is a disciplined form of savings that enables and accelerates goal achievement.  With the account, you can save together for Christmas groceries, holidays, special celebrations like baby and bridal showers, birthday and steak parties, Sunday soccer events and many more. Save together and prosper.

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