Nigerian credit-led SME fintech startup, Payhippo has acquired Maritime Microfinance Bank (MFB), a microfinance bank that offers some banking products, demand deposits, and investments as well as micro and SME loans.
The acquisition is pending approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). When completed, it will enable the credit-led fintech to have direct access to Nigeria’s inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS).
According to a statement shared with Technext, both parties are working together to obtain the regulator’s approval.
The acquisition will also allow the startup to facilitate the sending and receiving of inter-bank transfers for its merchants with the integration of NIBSS. This means merchants will soon be able to perform all key financial functions from their Payhippo app.
Speaking on the development, the co-founder and CEO of Payhippo, Zach Bijesse, disclosed that the company’s mission is, to provide seamless financial service to Africans, and the new acquisition and partnership with MFB gives it the leverage to achieve that.
“At Payhippo, our mission is to provide seamless financial services for merchants throughout Africa. We are making this investment to enhance products and services for our customers and in turn enable us to reach a wider customer base. We are very excited to work with Maritime Microfinance Bank to revolutionize the SME financial service through digital innovation.”Zach Bijesse, Co-founder and CEO of Payhippo,
Furthermore, the acquisition will enable Payhippo to accept deposits from its customers and integrate with NIBSS allowing the fintech to provide a more holistic experience for its fast-growing customer base.
In his own remarks, confirming the acquisition, the Chairman of the Maritime Microfinance Bank, Adetola Atekoja explained that he was excited to welcome the new team of Payhippo, and was ready to support them in providing solutions that the Nigeria fintech space needs at this stage.
“Nigeria has an ever-growing need for SME lending solutions to help businesses meet their financial needs. We believe Payhippo is well-positioned to develop new and customized financial products for SMEs in the country. The team is incredibly talented, resilient and exudes excellent leadership. I am very excited to welcome them onboard and look forward to supporting them in achieving their goals”Adetola Atekoja
So far, Payhippo has disbursed over 25,000 loans to small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. Also, in maintaining its tremendous organizational growth, the company distributed 6,726 loans in the third quarter of the year, seeing a 39% increase from its 4,842 loan originations in quarter two. The company earns over $4m in annualized revenue.
Payhippo is a credit-led SME fintech founded in 2019 by Chioma Okotcha, Uche Nnadi, and Zach Bijesse, to provide small businesses in Nigeria with access to financing.
Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Payhippo’s vision is to reach Nigeria’s 40 million SMEs with seamless financial services to run their businesses. The company also recently opened an office in London to attract Africans in the diaspora and global talent that would support the team in Nigeria to grow the fintech’s products and services for SMEs in Nigeria.
This necessitated the hiring of Dami Olawoye as its Head of Corporate Finance in London to support the fintech to tap into global capital markets that enable them to fund its loan books for its credit-led business model.
The extensive knowledge from the bank’s employees will help Payhippo continue its mission to expand access to finance for SMEs through digital technology.
As it stands, the company currently has 76 employees in Nigeria, the UK, Portugal, Kenya, and South Africa.
On the other hand, since its establishment in 2014, Maritime’s goal has been to provide quality and tailored financial products and services to meet the needs and expectations of every Nigerian.
The bank has worked on specific lending products for SMEs to empower entrepreneurs in maritime and other sectors of the micro economy. This acquisition will enable MFB to expand its product and services in line with Payhippo’s goal to reach a wider range of SMEs from different sectors by providing access to quick and seamless financing.
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