Nigerian fintech, Payhippo acquires Maritime Microfinance Bank

Nigerian credit-led SME fintech, Payhippo has acquired Maritime Microfinance Bank (MFB) to enable its users to accept deposits from its customers and integrate with NIBSS.

Nigerian fintech, Payhippo acquires Maritime Microfinance Bank
L-R: Payhippo co-founders: Zach Bijesse, Chioma Okotcha and Uche Nnadi

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 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's goal is 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. This acquisition will enable MFB 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 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."

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How will the MMFB acquisition enable Payhippo?

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. The extensive knowledge from the bank’s employees will help Payhippo continue its mission to expand access to finance for SMEs through digital technology.

"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," Zach Bijesse, Co-founder and CEO of Payhippo, said

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.

Since its launch in August 2019 by Zach Bijesse (CEO), Chioma Okotcha (COO) and Uche Nnadi, Payhippo 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% increase from its 4,842 loan originations in quarter two. The company earns over $4 million in annualized revenue.

Related Article: Is it good business to lend to Nigerian SMEs?

Payhippo has also seen tremendous organizational growth. The company has most recently opened an office in London to attract Africans in the diaspora and global talent that would support the team in Nigeria to grow the fintech's products and services for SMEs in Nigeria.

Last year, Payhippo raised a $3 million seed to improve access to finance for SMEs in Nigeria.

In London, the start-up has hired  Dami Olawoye as its Head of Corporate Finance to support the fintech to tap into global capital markets that enable them to fund its loan books for its credit-led business model. The company currently has 76 employees in Nigeria, the UK, Portugal, Kenya, and  South Africa.

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