FIRST National Bank (FNB) has pledged to continue opening new branches across the country to ensure the financial inclusion of Basotho.
This was said by FNB Chief Executive Officer Martin Knollys during the official launch of a branch in Hlotse, Leribe on Tuesday. He said the branch was FNB’s eighth in the country since the establishment of the financial institution in 2004, and the second to be opened in Leribe district after the Maputsoe branch.
“Our expansion roadmap is to have a presence in all the strategic places nationwide in line with the financial inclusion strategy driven by the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL),” Knollys said.
“We have no doubt that FNB Lesotho will attain this noble objective as we are a bank driven by innovation and convenience and are striving for service excellence.”
He said the people of Leribe could expect superior banking solutions through FNB’s skilled and dedicated team at the Hlotse branch. Mr Knollys further said the new branch had created job opportunities for the Hlotse community.
“Ladies and gentleman, it must also be noted that this new development has brought other benefits such as job creation and community development in Hlotse,” he said.
“We will also be focusing on a financial literacy programme aimed at contributing to the building of a financially astute and responsible society.”
In her remarks, CBL Governor Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane said the opening of the new branch had brought banking services closer to the Hlotse community.
“I am happy for you, the people of Hlotse, that FNB decided to invest a branch in your district. This now means it will be easier for you to access banking services,” she said.
Dr Matlanyane also implored the bank to fulfil its mandate by uplifting the community with their various services.
“There are expectations which you are supposed to meet for the community. These include delivering quality banking services and friendly assistance to the people. It is what the people expect from you,” she said.
On the community’s part, Dr Matlanyane urged them to repay the loans they would borrow from the institution, adding that defaulting was tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot.
“When lenders don’t repay their loans, it becomes difficult for us to persuade banks to continue giving out loans,” she said.
The CBL chief also urged the community to avoid investing their money in unregistered money schemes.
“In these hard economic times, I don’t understand how you can trust someone with no proven financial credentials with your hard-earned monies,” said Dr Matlanyane.
“Let us stick to registered financial institutions for investing our monies. You can identify them by verifying with the Central Bank of Lesotho.”
For his part, Leribe District Administrator Mokhabelane Morahanye said it was difficult for the community of Hlotse to access banking services prior to the opening of the new branch.
“As the Hlotse community, we are very elated with this development which has brought the bank closer to us. It was a challenge for the people to go to Maputsoe for banking services where it was congested and costly,” he said.