Sustainable growth

Our objective is to increase financial inclusion through sustainable growth of our loan portfolio while delivering good returns for shareholders.

In 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company focused on the immediate impact of the crisis on its business. The Company has adopted a number of measures to deal with the changes in the different operating environments as a result of the regulatory and securities measures that have been taken by governments. In mitigating the impact of COVID-19, we will be focusing on our clients, delivering operational efficiency and cost savings across our business, as well as preserving cash. At the same time we have developed contingency plans that are adjusted across our regions.

Our key strategic pillars

  • Increase the number of clients per branch in existing branches
  • Gradually increase the volume of loans per client in existing branches
  • Open new branches in existing countries of operation
  • Gradual expansion of geographical footprint in new countries
  • Grow the deposit base of our microfinance institutions to provide an alternative, stable, low-cost source of funding by securing deposit-taking licences in certain existing geographies
  • Proactive adoption and development of digital and other technology offerings to improve customer service and to increase client retention and productivity
  • Competitive advantage of direct client connection combined with digital penetration, which increases collection capability and allows for a better balance of affordability and profitability
  • Utilise strong IT platform as a potential enabler for further growth, be at the forefront of any digital finance initiatives, leverage increasing smartphone/internet penetration within the customer base

2020 Priorities 

  • We focus on a wide range of operational and financial measures to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our staff, clients and operations. In preparation for the restart of our field activities, we continue to focus on the health and safety of our clients, adjust field operating procedures and treat lockdowns as a ‘payment holiday’.After the termination of the lockdowns, we will continue growing the branch network, client base and loan portfolio (per client) in existing operating countries at a sustainable rate, making sure that clients continue to be able to repay their loans and branch staff can manage client and loan portfolio growth without impacting negatively the quality of the loan portfolio.
  • Due to COVID-19, the focus in the short term is on fully restoring the business and longer term in continuing to investigate new regions in existing markets and new markets in Africa and Asia as per our eligibility requirements.
  • Securing the microfinance bank licence in Pakistan. In January 2020, the Company received a no objection certificate from the State Bank of Pakistan to transform into a microfinance bank, subject to meeting various conditions, within a period of six months. –
  • In addition, the Company received a full deposit-taking licence in Myanmar in 2020 and continues to explore similar options in operating countries in East Africa, in particular Tanzania.
  • Implementation in four remaining countries (the Philippines, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Zambia) of the AMBS Real-time software.
  • Progress with the finalisation of the integrated financial consolidation package for the Group.
  • Completing various IT projects including but not limited to: piloting a mobile app for clients, developing an HR management system, asset management system, internal audit management system and continue to improve and build IT infrastructure to meet ISMS as per ISO 27001 standard and strengthen business continuity plan at the country level.

Longer-term focus 

We plan to continue growing our client base and loan portfolio in existing countries as well as in new countries at a rate in line with our medium-term target expectations.

We expect to continue expanding our branch network, in existing countries as well as exploring opportunities in new countries.

To become fully embedded in the local financial community in each of our operating countries by, if possible, securing and operating central bank-regulated, deposit financial institutions.

We aim to enhance the application of the ASA Model with a state-ofthe-art IT backbone that delivers first-class digital services to ensure all our systems and procedures are governed by our IT platform: focus on going increasingly paperless and establishing access to client information anytime anywhere. We aim to introduce digital financial services based on local demand and to the extent permitted by local rules and regulations and existing infrastructure networks with the objective to further improve the efficiency and quality of our services and further empower our operating staff.