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AccessPoints revitalise small, women-owned businesses hit by the recession
Super Contributor
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"Standard Bank came to the rescue." This is how Gladys Mashike, owner of the Mapetla General Dealer's Store in South Africa's North West province, describes the difference AccessPoint banking facilities has made to her small business.

Standard Bank South Africa's innovative AccessPoint model takes banking to customers in their communities. Through facilities installed at existing local traders and spaza shops, customers can do basic banking in store, removing the need to travel to a branch or ATM. Store owners that add an AccessPoint to their business are trained to help their customers draw, deposit, and transfer money, do balance enquiries on their accounts, and buy airtime and electricity.

There are close to 7 000 AccessPoints across the country - and 37.7% are owned by women. Female AccessPoint owners have processed around R5.3m in transactions through their small businesses in the first half of this year alone.

Gladys is one of the three top performing women in the country wide AccessPoint network. All three women own and run their businesses and are raising children or grandchildren on their own. Through the AccessPoint concept, they are earning extra income through commissions earned on bank transactions, while also playing a significant role in bringing banking facilities to remote or rural areas. Their shops have processed the highest number of bank transactions on a monthly basis.

Gladys and her husband started the Mapetla General Dealer Store in 1988 and their business flourished. However, it started struggling when her husband passed away in 2005, and the recession and opening of spaza shops in the area reduced revenues and profits even more.

When a Standard Bank representative asked her whether she would consider having an AccessPoint, Gladys hesitated. "I didn't know anything about banking and I knew that the people in the community would question my ability to handle money like a bank," she says.

"But the world is changing all the time and I thought it was time for me to change too. I had to be brave, to trust myself. Now, the AccessPoint brings a lot of business to my shop. Even people who are just driving through the community stop to do their banking."

In the first six months of 2013, Gladys processed over 5 000 banking transactions and is the top-performing female AccessPoint owner in South Africa. She attributes her AccessPoint success to taking the time to explain to her customers how the AccessPoint can make their lives easier and save them the transport costs they would normally use to travel to the bank.

Read more about AccessBanking and AccessPoint from Standard Bank South Africa at www.standardbank.co.za/accesspoint.
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