One of the fast growing microfinance companies in the country, Capital & More, is introducing yet another unique product in the industry that is set to cushion commercial drivers to overcome their financial burden in order to be self-reliant.
The company has within this year, expanded its scope of service to make a significant number of Ghanaians in the informal sector who are unbanked, a part of the financial system.
In May this year, it introduced a collateral-free loan facility that enables traders – market women, food vendors, spare parts dealers, phone retailers etc – to access loans of between GHC300 and GHC5,000 to expand their businesses.
At a Customers Appreciation Day last week, Managing Director of Capital & More, Akosua Oduma Oppong-Tawiah, announced the introduction of their latest product, Capital Drive Loan, a facility for commercial drivers with flexible terms.
“Most of these commercial drivers, they don’t own the vehicles so if you’re doing the collaterised facility, they cannot be part of the financial sector…meanwhile they’re also people who need to be included in the financial industry,” she said.
Under the scheme, trotro and taxi drivers as well as bus drivers registered with the various transport unions can access loans of up to GHC 5,000, which they will repay in weekly instalments.
The drivers will be given special gold boxes, popularly known as susu box, in which they will be required to put the excess income from their daily sales.
Their assigned agents will visit them weekly to collect the savings as form of repayment for the facility and the excess put in their respective accounts, which will earn them interest.
“Now when we open your gold box and you’ve done in excess of your repayment, it goes into your savings account and we pay interest on them so we are hoping that by the time you’re done with your cycle, we would have graduated you from a borrower to a lender so we hope that it will encourage them to save and then we can pay interest on their interest,” Mrs Oppong-Tawiah said.
She added: “Some of them do work-and-pay. It’s not every time that sales is good so this product comes to be a buffer for them to go through the cycle of paying off the vehicle”.
Mrs Oppong-Tawiah explained that the Capital Drive Loan would ease the burden of the drivers and give them some peace of mind so they can concentrate on their driving.
She observed some commercial drivers in an attempt to get their daily sales engage in all kinds practices including overloading, speeding among other unsafe road practices.
“Most of the accidents that happen in the urban areas, it’s the commercial vehicles that cause it because they’re in a hurry to go and come and it’s about finances,” she observed.
She said it was in this regard among others that the Capital Drive Loan facility was developed, noting that within the first week, they have subscribed about 50 commercial drivers onto the facility that will be launched in January 2017.
“We need to ease their burden; give them some peace of mind so that at least they can concentrate on the driving. So indirectly it will have impact on the state of mind of the drivers,” she said.
Customer appreciation dayThe customer appreciation day, Mrs Oppong-Tawiah said, was to celebrate the clients of the company who have been loyal to them throughout the year.
The clients, mostly traders, who showed up at all the three branches – Ring Road Central in Accra, Mallam and Tema- of the company, were given special gifts ranging from clothes, branded mugs, pens, books and aprons among other freebies.The over 300 customers also had the opportunity to interact with the staff of the company who have been serving them over the years. The workers wore African prints to blend in with the traders, which was also to promote the local fabric industry.
“Most of them [clients] were very, very surprised because we are not the only microfinance most of them have dealt with before so it was very well received and they were genuinely happy,” Mrs Oppong-Tawiah said. She added: “Over 300 people were served across our three branches and everybody left with something…We’re hoping that out of this we will continue to have that bond with our customers and grow with them.”
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana