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Fighting for financial freedom

FIGHTING FOR FINANCIAL FREEDOM: Monepe

Inside the fast-paced world of Express credit (*maybe Express credit could be in a different colour so it stands out?)

In this latest edition of Meet the Boss, we delve into the fast-paced world of Express credit.

A relatively new player in the small loans industry, Express credit has quickly established itself as one of Botswana’s leading micro-lenders.

The company takes great pride in being a responsible lender, with transparency and customer service two of its driving principles.

Our guide on this tour into the heart of the business is Expresscredit’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Karabo Monepe.

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As well as giving readers a fascinating insight into how the enterprise works, Monepe also touches upon his professional journey.

Firstly, give us an idea of what your role as Chief Financial Officer entails?

First and foremost, thank you for the opportunity to chat. My role as a CFO is diverse: I see myself as a finance business partner, I am accountable for creating value across the business and nurturing relationships, both internally and externally.

I also play a leadership role in driving the mission and vision of the company, as well as demonstrating and instilling the values of the business.

The role extends, pretty much, to planning, monitoring, and analysis to safeguard and ensure that business decisions are grounded on solid financial insights.

Sounds demanding! Describe a typical day in the office for you?

Well, there are peaks and valleys in the monthly finance cycle.

However, operationally I have both my feet on the ground, spending a fair share of my day on operational processes and a decent amount on strategic matters with the CEO.

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More often than not, I kick off my day with a hot cup of coffee.

You’ve been with Express credit for almost three years now – how have you found the journey so far?

The past three years with Express credit have been quite eventful and rewarding.

Over this period, we have doubled our branch footprints from five to ten branches.

We have added colour in the market and our presence has been quite visible, and we have also built strong relationships and partnerships.

With that we have seen exponential growth in our book, getting us to the necessary critical mass that proved essential in the year 2020.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, the entire business and social community were hard hit with no exceptions as we all experienced a true manifestation of the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world of today.

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Our operations have, however, remained resilient and our commitment to our clients, unfazed.

We continue to put our clients first, delivering unparalleled service and improved turnaround times.

We continue to look ahead with enthusiasm and optimism for the economy to open up and roll out our tailored products to meet the needs of our clients and the communities as well as enhanced social impact.

What did you do before you joined the Express credit crew – take us through your professional journey.

My professional career spans 15 years. I started with PwC in the audit department, where I spent a good five years of learning, discovery, and appreciation of the profession.

I then joined Standard Chartered Bank for two-and-a-half years before moving to the cutting and polishing sector with Laurelton Diamonds, a subsidiary of Tiffany & Co, where I worked as Corporate Performance and Business Support Manager for Botswana and Mauritius operations.

After some years in the manufacturing space, I then got an opportunity to join this exciting company – an opportunity I could not resist!

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Impressive résumé; so what do you regard as the proudest moment of your career?

Well, it’s difficult to choose one moment over the other because all the proud moments of my career had unique opportunities and challenges, and therefore brought different life lessons.

All I can say generally is my career has been a fun-filled journey, with loads of rewarding moments that I look back at with pride in all the businesses I have worked for.

And so out of respect for institutional confidentiality, I will not single out any.

However, I certainly remain appreciative and grateful to everyone that crossed my career path, all those that I have worked with directly and/or indirectly across these institutions.

They have most surely contributed immensely to making this journey worthy.

How about low points?

Most definitely, and as I said earlier, there are peaks and valleys.

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And when one is in the valley that is a moment when you long for what is missing.

Again, I will not pinpoint any particular low moment as I view any challenge as an opportunity to recollect and refocus.

2020/2021 has not been easy for most institutions, but it offered an opportunity for reforms, on both processes and strategies.

In your view, what role should micro-finance institutions play in economic development?

We are in the micro-finance space at Express credit and we do recognise everyday how critical our role is in the livelihoods of the people and communities in which we operate.

Our product offering is diverse and resonates with our mission of securing financial freedom for local communities underserved by mainstream financiers, thereby creating a meaningful impact in the communities from both a social and economic standpoint.

In our quest for financial inclusiveness, we have come to appreciate the needs and desires of our clients for economic and social upliftment.

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Therefore we strive to fulfill these needs with speed to enhance customer experience and continue to maintain an up-to-date portfolio impact analysis to measure and guide our plans and future aspirations.

Finally, on a personal note, what keeps you busy away from the office?

I have a young family, so whenever I am not working, I always use the opportunity to spend time with my wife and kids.

We have a bunch of awesome dogs as well, and taking them for a walk is quite refreshing.

PERSONAL PROFILE

FULL NAMES: Karabo Monepe
DATE OF BIRTH: 14th Sept
PLACE OF BIRTH: Francistown
MENTORS: I have a few, including my dad
CAR DRIVING: Ford Ranger
DREAM HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Any place where I can bond with nature
HOBBIES: Reading and art and crafts
FAVOURITE FOOD: Traditional cuisines…
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY: It’s situational, but I value honesty and transparency

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