Opportunity Bank acquired by international fintech company

Opportunity Bank Uganda has been acquired by the MyBucks Group, a Luxembourg-based financial technology (fintech) company that has operations in ten other African countries. MyBucks announced the acquisition in a statement.

The group said it acquired a 49% shareholding in the bank from Opportunity International, the international NGO that was previously majority shareholder. Opportunity International and MyBucks entered into a share purchase agreement last November for Opportunity to sell six of its banks in sub-Saharan Africa to MyBucks. On 1 July, MyBucks said it had taken over the banking units in Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.

MyBucks appointed Tineyi Mawocha, who until recently was the chief executive officer of Rwanda’s Urwego Opportunity Bank, to head the Ugandan operation.

Opportunity Bank is licenced as a Tier 2 Financial Institution by the Bank of Uganda, which allows it to operate as a credit institution.

MyBucks’ operations elsewhere utilise digital and mobile banking technology, and it says the application of the platforms to its Uganda operation “will go a long way in bridging the gap between the virtual and traditional worlds of banking.”

“It’s really about providing our clients with faster, more efficient and less expensive access to financial services,” MyBucks CEO, Dave van Niekerk, said.

The transactions have however been criticised by some analysts because of MyBucks’ lending operations elsewhere on the continent. Through its GetBucks platform, MyBucks offers small, short-term loans in several countries at high monthly interest rates (30% in Kenya). This has raised doubts about whether the group’s high-profit business model is the right fit for a low-margin operation built on an altruistic foundation. (Opportunity International has responded to the criticism.)

Opportunity Bank Uganda, according to the statement, has 250,000 clients, over Shs22.6 billion in customer deposits, and Shs37.7 billion in customer loans.