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The evolution of micro-lending, or cash loans, in South Africa is a narrative marked by challenges and opportunities, emblematic of the dynamic financial landscape of the country.


In the late 1990s, Gerhard Naudé, co-founder of Money-Wise Nationwide, recognized a market gap for cash loans, particularly among individuals excluded from the formal banking sector. This led to the pioneering of a new industry fraught with challenges. Despite these hurdles, Money Wise successfully established a formal Cash Loan sector and rapidly expanded, boasting over 300 franchise branches nationwide within a span of three years.


During the early 2000s, the formal banking industry astutely acknowledged the potential of micro-lending and made a strategic entry into the sector. This shift impacted smaller lenders, prompting the sale of many branches to larger conglomerates that subsequently emerged.


A 2022 study conducted by revealed a persistent gap, with 31% of consumers still lacking access to formal banking services. This underscores an opportunity for a new Financial Services Franchise, aligning with the ongoing need for inclusive financial solutions.

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