More power to the peo­ple

. . . as FNB and LEC strike land­mark deal

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

FIRST Na­tional Bank Le­sotho (FNB) says be­gin­ning to­mor­row, ac­count-hold­ers will be able to pur­chase elec­tric­ity through the bank’s Au­to­mated Teller Ma­chines (ATMS).

An­nounc­ing the lat­est in­no­va­tion in Maseru this week, FNB Le­sotho Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Emil Hep­pell, said ac­coun­thold­ers will be able to pur­chase elec­tric­ity worth be­tween M20 and M1000 in one trans­ac­tion for a M5 fee.

Mr Hep­pell added the fa­cil­ity was the re­sult of talks be­tween FNB and the Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity Com­pany (LEC), which started as far back as Oc­to­ber 2013.

“We are grate­ful this new part­ner­ship will of­fer the most con­ve­nient way for our clients to pur­chase elec­tric­ity,” Mr Hep­pell said at the fa­cil­ity’s launch on Tues­day.

“With over 140 000 debit card-hold­ers, we are look­ing at in­tro­duc­ing the benefits of this ini­tia­tive to our val­ued cus­tomers in ful­fil­ment of FNB’S ob­jec­tive of af­ford­ing them the sim­plest bank­ing ser­vices on a plat­form that they trust and is most fa­mil­iar to them.”

He added that FNB had em­barked on in­creas­ing its ATMS from the cur­rent 46 to 70 coun­try­wide in or­der to ac­com­mo­date as many clients as pos­si­ble.

“What we are look­ing at is ex­pand­ing ac­cess to ser­vices through mo­bile phones and on­line bank­ing in fu­ture,” Mr Hep­pell fur­ther noted.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Hep­pel, the user in­ter­faces on FNB ATMS had since been ad­justed to in­clude the op­tion of pre­paid elec­tric­ity, mak­ing the process of pur­chas­ing the com­mod­ity “quick and has­sle free”.

In his ad­dress, LEC Manag­ing Direc­tor Mbele Hoohlo, said the part­ner­ship was the first be­tween the com­pany and a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion and part of the power util­ity’s vi­sion of pro­vid­ing elec­tric­ity to as many res­i­dents as pos­si­ble.

“LEC’S man­date is not only to pro­vide elec­tric­ity, but also mak­ing its pur­chase easy for the pub­lic. It is through such part­ner­ships that LEC can reach more cus­tomers on di­ver­si­fied plat­forms,” Mr Hoohlo said.

“This co-op­er­a­tion is LEC’S first with any bank and seeks to make ser­vices avail­able to a wider range of the pop­u­la­tion since most of our ef­forts have been con­fined to vend­ing ma­chine ser­vices in the past.”

Mr Hoohlo fur­ther as­sured clients of the se­cu­rity of the new venture.

LEC Manag­ing Direc­tor Mbele Hoohlo (left) shakes on the deal with FNB CEO Emil Hep­pell on Tues­day.

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