In another major step forward in supporting growth in SMEs, Sasfin today announced that it has acquired a strategic stake in fast-growing fintech lender Payabill.
Payabill, a 100% digital lending business, provides working capital and/or trade finance to small businesses. The collaboration between Sasfin and Payabill accelerates financing opportunities for customers.
Sasfin, South Africa’s leading business challenger bank, last year successfully launched its digital platform, B\\YOND, for SMEs.
“Sasfin has been investing in fintechs, building digital capabilities (such as B\\YOND) and working with third parties (such as XERO Accounting) for a number of years with the aim of adding value to our business and wealth clients. Payabill has made huge strides in giving businesses access to digital finance and we are thrilled to announce this investment,” says Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon.
Payabill CEO Eli Michal launched the pioneering fintech start up in SA in 2017. Payabill settles suppliers directly for its clients and allows clients to select their own extended payment terms. “We are incredibly excited by the opportunity afforded to Payabill by having Sasfin as an equity and debt partner. Sasfin will provide access to new channels and much needed funding that enables us to support the growth of small business finance in South Africa,” says Michal.
Michal started the fintech as he “wanted to enhance access to finance for small businesses in South Africa. We all know that boosting small business creates jobs and enables growth. Traditional lenders have neglected this segment of the market due to the high costs associated with on-boarding and assessing these customers, as well as managing their credit risk. It made no sense to us that a retail consumer could get multiple forms of credit, almost instantly via electronic channels, but small businesses could not. They were being neglected. With this in mind, we set out to build a completely paperless, digital solution to address this market’s unique requirements.”
Currently, Payabill offers loans of up to R150 000 to businesses. The intention is that with the investment made by Sasfin, Payabill will be able to offer larger loans to SMEs in the near future.
The alignment of Payabill’s aims and Sasfin’s long-term focus on small business in SA made for an ideal partnership. “SMEs can now borrow digitally, via Payabill, and bank via B\\Yond from Sasfin – reducing admin and costs which often stifles small business growth. Both B\\Yond and Payabill are gaining meaningful traction in the SME market and there are a host of additional digital initiatives that we are working on to further help small businesses thrive,” says Sassoon.
“While Sasfin has always offered a trade and debtor finance solution, this was largely for more established businesses. The new offering speaks to smaller businesses that are passionate about growth, and our larger Trade and Debtor Finance offering will be there to support businesses that reach the next phase in their development,” says Sassoon.
Sasfin’s B\\YOND platform has seen strong uptake with new clients since its launch in March 2018. Offering accounting light capability as well as the ability to do payroll, invoicing and banking on one platform, it operates as a business management tool that works effortlessly while you bank.
Smart dashboards, at-a-glance views of cash runways and the ability to tag and classify payments puts the platform streets ahead of any other banking platform in the country. Sasfin was also the first – and currently only – bank in the country that can integrate via direct feed integration – with Xero Accounting software. Businesses can manage their applications – from beginning to end – entirely online and as cards are delivered to clients, there is no need for any time to be spent in a branch at all.
Sasfin’s passion for entrepreneurs stems from the bank’s roots as an SME itself, having started its operation as a textile trading business operating out of Norwood in 1951. This business was converted into a finance business in the 1960s and listed as a trade and equipment financier on the JSE in 1987. Following a number of small acquisitions and strong organic growth, Sasfin obtained a banking license in 1999.