New mutual bank is above board - Nthabeleng Likotsi
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Pretoria - Nthabeleng Likotsi, founder of co-operation Young Women Business Network, which recently launched a mutual bank, has cleared concerns from the public that the new project could be a scam.
Last week questions and concerns were raised about the legitimacy of the new mutual bank, including the R1 000 membership fee members have to pay to join the bank and the time frame for investors to see returns on their investments.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, Likotsi said although the bank’s licence had not been granted yet, the South African Reserve Bank had approved her ownership of a mutual bank in March.
“Even though the co-operative is in its establishment phase it’s not a scam.”
Last week the Pretoria News reported that the NL Mutual Bank, established by the business network, had sold a million shares within 72 hours of trading.
On Twitter, Koshiek Karan, a financial commentator on social media, wrote: “The first red flag is the membership fee for R1 000.
“Having done a fair share of capital raising it’s the first time, I've seen a non-refundable membership fee to participate in an issuance. It's not common.”
Speaking to the Pretoria News after the briefing yesterday, Likotsi said that despite being granted authorisation by the Reserve Bank, people continued to doubt the bank because it was black owned and predominantly by women.
“In South Africa black women, especially in the financial sector, are marginalised. We are not represented in senior positions, so this is a big deal to people.”
She added: “We have been everywhere in the media to share who we are but the history of the pyramid schemes and other banks dying is working against us.
“People have a problem that the bank is pro-black.
“We can only do our best. I just don’t understand why people think we could be a scam. We are developing something for black people but its the same black people who were excluded before who doubt us.
“Giving up is not even an option. It’s not even on the table. All we can do is go on and re-assure people we are not a scam,“ she said.
The mutual bank is going to be digital and uses a phone app for all the banking activities.
Likotsi made history in March when she became the founder of the first 78% female-owned financial institution in the country.
Her co-operative includes over 500 members with a vision to bring hope to black women and the marginalised of the country.
It comes on the heels of VBS mutual bank, a financial institution that collapsed after its managers, officials and politicians looted around R2.3 billion invested by municipalities, societies and individuals into the bank, mostly in Limpopo.
The Reserve Bank has given the new mutual bank 12 months to raise their capital and do its checks and balances before it’s fully functional.