How one Ekurhuleni businesswoman started a bank, stokvel-style


Nthabeleng Likotsi, the founder and executive chairperson of Young Women in Business Network Holdings, started her own bank after growing it from a humble savings club. PICTURED: Nthabeleng Likotsi

EDENVALE --  Most people are thinking about groceries, when they use a stokvel but Ekurhuleni businesswoman, Nthabeleng Likotsi, has other ideas. 

Dikotsi started her own bank, after forming a humble &39;savings club&39;.  She&39;s already raised R2-million and she says it&39;s just a start.

There are more than 800,000 stokvel members in South Africa, saving money for groceries, the festive season or to get through January.

But when Likotsi started her stokvel, the Young Women in Business Network, she wanted to create something with long term returns.

“We started saving money, using the stokvel. We called it an investment company using the stokvel, saving money and at the end of the year buying shares,” said Nthabeleng Likotsi of Young Women in Business Network.

After a visit to Switzerland and her first introduction to stokvel-style banking, Likotsi was inspired to start a co-operative bank using her existing savings club.

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She led the Young Women in Business Network cooperative financial institution which pays R1,000 a month and has access to business loans of up to R100,000 for members of the institution.

To join the cooperative each member has to pay a deposit of R10 000 as a share capital fee, and an annual R550 rand membership fee.

“We are a proper bank, meaning we loan out money, we charge interest on them, which means that is the return. We charge 5% interest on short term loans that is 6 months and 2.5% on a 12 months loan. And we have savings products,” said Likotsi. 

The savings group received its cooperative financial institution licence in December with 271 members and aims to have over a thousand members by next February.

Likotsi says YWBN aims to have a R1-million in savings to be recognised by the South African Reserve Bank.