This Japanese phrase translates to “go and see for yourself”; very applicable when one thinks that key financial services such as debt recovery would be a simple ‘Copy and Paste’ recipe, irrespective of geographical location. Although by and large that may be true, particularly in developed countries, it’s not quite that simple in the developing regions of the world.
Factors such as the availability of technology, local regulations and/or legislation, governing body presence and local culture significantly influence how the industry operates in developing countries. Africa is a great example of this, as we have seen in the Nimble Group.
Southern is not South
Nimble prides itself in being at the forefront of using technology to not only improve internal efficiencies, but to also improve the debtor experience by providing multiple ways to facilitate repayment engagement. These include online payment platforms, mobile apps, E-forms, etc. This works well in South Africa because of the level of comfort with online transactions. However, in our operations in Namibia and Botswana, the reality is quite different. Significant differences are seen, with greatly reduced confidence in online/digital transactions, increased preference for cash, and direct deposits driven by historical ‘face to face’ norms.
That said, Nimble remains an active and leading financial services provider and debt acquisition partner to many of the major credit grantors across our entire African footprint.
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
A major positive development within the group was the recent partnering and joint venture with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The core undertaking is to provide bespoke debt relief solutions across Africa, primarily through debt acquisition transaction models that ultimately allow debtors the opportunity to relieve the burden of long outstanding debt through monthly payment and/or settlement
restructures, at a fraction of the original debt obligations. It’s an area that allows the IFC to support freeing up capital to the credit grantors, but it also provides much-needed debt rehabilitation & relief to debtors.
Sales of non-performing loans (NPL’S) are not widely understood in the developing markets. Firstly, there are very few pools of organised capital to address the potential needs. Secondly, there is an educational process for the credit providers to understand how to utilise these tools in order to better manage their balance sheets.
The IFC has a strong and well respected advisory network across Africa. It has worked extensively with the World Bank, bringing international best practices into sharp focus across Africa. In addition to the enormous presence that the IFC has in Africa, it is obviously enormously helpful to have meaningful amounts of capital committed to solving NPL challenges.
We are excited about the possibilities and opportunities associated with our new partnership with the IFC. We will surely look back at this particular time, as the World tackles the Covid-19 crisis, and be proud of the role that Nimble is now able to play in resolving NPL’s in a constructive and sensitive manner.
Written by: Marius Smith, Nimble Group Chief Operating Officer
St Agnes is a public school situated in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Nimble Group actively supports St Agnes Primary School through the Partners for Possibility programme. We dedicate resources to a variety of initiatives aimed at creating an enhanced learning and recreational space, enriched student experience, and optimized day-to-day running of school operations.
Computer room upgrade Our dedicated team of IT technicians has upgraded the school’s IT hardware and software, creating a more user-friendly and modern environment for students and teachers using the computer room daily.
Playground painting and revitalization
Our enthusiastic volunteers devoted their time to painting vibrant murals and interactive games on the walls and paved areas of the playground.
Enriched student experience
Nimble strives to continuously improve the student experience by celebrating academic excellence, sponsoring prize-giving events, and more.
Day-to-day operational support
We also contribute to the school’s operational efficiency by offering administrative support and providing access to Nimble’s HR and Finance functions.
Nimble Group has taken the initiative to establish an Early Childhood Development Centre, which began operating in January 2019 in Woodstock, Cape Town. The centre operates under the guidance of Peak child, and while accessible to the public, primarily serves as a subsidized preschool for the children of Nimble staff.
Peak Child aims to equip children with the best possible foundation for life by providing affordable, high-quality preschools in close proximity to workplaces, catering to the needs of emerging middle-class parents. Since its inception, Peak Child has focused on collaborating with socially responsible employers to support their staff beyond conventional employee benefits.
Peak Child offers comprehensive programmes for children aged 3 months to 5 years. Through partnerships with prominent educational experts and local primary schools they ensure that children transitioning from Peak Child are socially, academically, and physically prepared for admission to any of Cape Town’s leading primary schools. Peak Child currently operates three schools, including Peak Child Nimble.
Nimble has made a significant investment in this project, with plans to replicate this model close to its Johannesburg offices.
The Altius Et Latius Trust is a school education initiative aimed at providing bursaries to historically disadvantaged students, enabling their attendance at top schools in Cape Town.
The primary goal of the trust is to promote equitable access to high-quality public education, fostering lasting transformation. Their objective is to support fifty talented learners in gaining admission to high-performing schools.
Nimble Group continually makes a substantial impact on this crucial initiative by providing essential resources for additional student support, such as tutoring, funding for school events or excursions, sporting equipment and more.