Over the years it has become apparent that Batswana are highly in debt. The latest statistics from Bank of Botswana indicate that as of January 2018 the country's household debt has reached an all-time high of $3.4 billion (P33.7 billion).
An entrepreneur with a legal and finance background, Elliot Moshoke saw it as an opportunity to start a debt recovery company called Real Debt Recovery, which helps corporates recover their debts and offers rehabilitation to the debtors.
“Passion drove me to start this company about 16 years ago because I realised that people struggled to collect debt and mostly do not have sufficient time to focus on them, hence the reason why I decided that I can intervene and do that on their behalf,” he said.
According to Moshoke, he realised that there was a need in the market as people get in debt, which burdens them, and sometimes due to lack of proper consultation end up failing to settle them. He said that they started small with individuals assisting them with ways of restructuring debt adding that they realised that most of them were willing to pay, but not the agreed amount.
Sustaining the business with his own money and penetrating the industry was not easy as he faced hurdles highlighting that they struggled to build trust as the industry is not regulated and clients paid them low commission when the service
“Building trust is not easy and it was a challenge as our industry is not regulated. We realised that the contract structure that people usually sign when lending does not include a clause of what would happen if the person fails to pay. We also faced situations where indebted people still take things on higher purchase while they do not have the ability to pay,” he said.
However, Moshoke said that they have managed to penetrate the industry, noting that unlike their competitors who mostly prefer phone calls, they do physical approach with their clientele, which he said is aimed at getting a client to acknowledge the debt.
“It is important that one sits down with these people and understand their situation, rehabilitate them and reach an agreement on how they will pay the debt. We have even set up a department aimed at assisting debtors clean up their profiles,” he said.
Currently Real Debt Recovery boasts clientele ranging from insurance companies, ISP providers, and security companies just to mention a few. The company is also developing campaigns to sensitise the public about debt and ways of cleaning their profiles.