Standard Lesotho Bank has launched a mobile branch which is essentially a mobile bank fitted to a truck to help bring banking services closer to Basotho especially in areas where customers are far from branches.
The launch event was held in Maseru earlier this week.
The initiative is one of the groundbreaking developments of Standard Lesotho Bank and has been named Se-ea-le-Methati meaning Bank on the Move. Se-ea-le-Methati provides basic banking services including an automatic teller machine (ATM) to dispense cash, two teller services and a customer consultant services that are normally found inside traditional branches.
Speaking at the launch event, Standard Bank Lesotho’s Acting Head of Marketing, Manyethela Kheleli explained that, the mobile truck will also enable the bank to accommodate the overflow at ATMs especially during peak times and will be used to provide services during special events organized by the bank. Se-ea-le-Methati has rough terrain 4×4 capabilities and is going to give the bank an opportunity to provide services to underserved areas in remote areas throughout the country as well as providing the disbursement of grants for the elderly.
“Se-ea-le-Methati will provide back-up services for branches for purpose of business continuity where any of the branches is not able to operate for a variety of reasons. This requirement has been more evident when Covid-19 cases were reported at branches which had to close. In its pilot before the launch, Se-ea-le-Methati has relieved ATMs in Maseru, Mahobong in Leribe, Maputsoe and communities in the area of Tšakholo in Mafeteng,” Kheleli said.
The mobile truck will not be carrying money but will be serviced with cash in a similar manner to normal ATMs. It will also be accompanied by high security detail to ensure the safety of the personnel and its infrastructure. It is the first of its kind in Lesotho in the financial services sector and its launch demonstrates the extent to which Standard Lesotho Bank is committed towards making banking services accessible for Basotho.
Meanwhile, for her part, Head of Branch Banking ‘Maleteka Moshabesha said Se-ea-le-Methati is a development that was implemented after hearing the needs of Standard Lesotho Bank’s customers who are underserved and far from the towns. She further said that Standard Lesotho Bank cares about the wellbeing of its customers so they brought Se-ea-le-Methati as a way to reach out to customers.
“This is for the elders in the remote rural areas, the people in the deep highlands of Lesotho, the farmers, people with disabilities and the field workers across the country. It is going to relieve the ATMs and bank branches during peak periods. It is one of the branches just like normal standard bank branches,” Moshabesha said.
Se-ea-le-Methati is still the only mobile bank Standard Lesotho Bank has as it is still in the pilot phase and there will be more when the time is right.