Payhippo Acquires Maritime Microfinance Bank to Boost SME Lending

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian credit-led SME fintech, Payhippo, has acquired Maritime Microfinance Bank (MFB), a financial institution specializing in saving products, demand deposits, and investments, as well as micro and SME loans.

The acquisition is pending approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and both parties are working together to obtain the regulator’s approval. This will also enable Payhippo to have direct access to Nigeria’s Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS).

Founded in 2014, Maritime was founded to provide quality and tailored financial products and services to meet the needs and expectations of every Nigerian. The bank has worked on specific lending products for SMEs to empower entrepreneurs in maritime and other sectors of the micro economy.

The acquisition will enable the microfinance bank to expand its product and services in line with Payhippo’s goal to reach a wider range of SMEs from different sectors by providing access to quick and seamless financing.

According to Mr Adetola Atekoja, Chairman of Maritime Microfinance Bank, “Nigeria has an ever-growing need for SME lending solutions to help businesses meet their financial needs. We believe Payhippo is well-positioned to develop new and customized financial products for SMEs in the country.

“The team is incredibly talented, resilient and exudes excellent leadership. I am very excited to welcome them onboard and look forward to supporting them in achieving their goals.”

Through this acquisition, Payhippo will grow its team with experienced professionals from the MFB team, adding in-depth experience from the banking and finance sector that will be of sustainable value to Payhippo’s growth.

“At Payhippo, our mission is to provide seamless financial services for merchants throughout Africa. We are making this investment to enhance products and services for our customers and, in turn, enable us to reach a wider customer base. We are very excited to work with Maritime Microfinance Bank to revolutionize the SME financial service through digital innovation,” said Mr Zach Bijesse, co-founder and CEO of Payhippo.

Payhippo’s acquisition of MFB will enable it to accept deposits from its customers and integrate with NIBSS allowing the fintech to provide a more holistic experience for its fast-growing customer base.

The acquisition will also allow Payhippo to facilitate the sending and receiving of inter-bank transfers for its merchants with the integration of NIBSS. This means merchants will soon be able to perform all key financial functions from their Payhippo app.

Payhippo says it has disbursed over 25,000 loans to small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. In the third quarter of the year, Payhippo distributed 6,726 loans seeing a 39 per cent increase from its 4,842 loan originations in quarter two. The company earns over $4 million in annualized revenue.

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