MAUN ÔÇô Despite all the setbacks faced by clients in this region, the National Development Bank (NDB) Chief Executive Officer Lorato Morapedi has said that the Ngamiland region will always be highly regarded as one of NDB’s important strategic locations for doing business.
Morapedi however admitted that delayed or non payments of loans by some of the bank’s clients has negatively affected good paying clients in the sense that the latter always finds it difficult to boost their production.
“We have made considerable investments over the years to support start up businesses in the fields of agriculture, residential and commercial property, retail, to mention but a few. The bank’s investment in the area through Maun branch also grew from P74 million in the last 12 years, 65% of the total investment is in Agriculture, 27% in property 6% in commerce and the remaining split in others, she said.”
Speaking during the bank’s customer appreciation forum in Maun on Friday, Morapedi advised that clients should make it a point that they honor their obligations so that those who seek the same services may be assisted in the same manner. She said the bank still has inactive business people who acquire loans but still cannot manage their projects. She however made mention that as NDB, they have always been aware of frequent outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) situation in Ngamiland which led to farmers’ inability to repay their loans. The same situation, she said also resulted in the bank deciding not to charge interest on the loans.
She highlighted also that because of the tight liquidity in the market, the bank’s performance was highly affected, and as thus losses were noticed since the 2013/14 financial year to date. Morapedi also noted that as it stands now, the banking industry has been going through a challenging period as a result of hostile markets, economic conditions, miserable property market and declining interests among others. She said “NDB was not sparred in this dilemma, which is why we decided to focus on supporting ailing funded projects and scaling down on investing on new business ventures. Unfortunately where no amount of remedy can assist, the bank is left without a choice but to foreclose. I take it that as business people, you will agree with me that this is the best option, even though it affects everyone, including good paying clients”.
On the other hand, clients, mostly from farmer associations, appealed to the CEO to be patient with them. They stated that because they are willing to repay their loans, they will diversify, regroup and find other alternatives that would assist them pay since they want the Agriculture sector to be profitable.
Head of Client Services Sethunya Gaolebogwe assured them that since the bank has dedicated relationship managers, she is hopeful that their concerns will be looked into. She said they always try their best to align themselves to all queries and will assist whenever the need arises.