Deputy Head of Lending, Africa

Reports To: Head of Lending, Africa
Job Type: Full-time, Exempt
Region: East Africa
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Start Date: Immediate
Contact: Please apply using the form below.

Position Overview

The Deputy Head of Lending is responsible for supporting the Head of Lending in carrying out the mandate of the Lending Team, meeting its objectives, and ensuring close and effective collaboration among all Root Capital teams active in Africa. This role requires deep and broad experience with SME lending, preferably with clients in the Agricultural sector, as well as an ability to support both clients and Root Capital staff in the delivery of meaningful results; because our clients do not always have extensive experience with lending practices. An ability to work with them to understand and access our services is critical. This is not a role for someone who lacks substantial experience in directly negotiating and underwriting transactions, as well as in monitoring and trouble-shooting. A key element is experience in supporting Root Capital’s continuing effort to provide professional development to all staff, including mentoring more junior staff. A thorough understanding of risks and risk mitigation measures appropriate to SME lending is critical. The Deputy is expected to be able to supplement the work of the Head of Lending, to take on certain responsibilities delegated from time to time by the Head of Lending, and to participate in a range of management tasks, including strategic planning, development of innovative products and services, and design and delivery of effective monitoring and trouble-shooting projects. The role will also involve active engagement in developing the visibility and delegated responsibility of the Africa Regional Team (R-Team)  within Root’s global operations.

Mission & History of Root Capital

Root Capital is a global nonprofit, working in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, whose mission is to support the sustainable growth of rural communities by providing a blend of credit and capacity building services to our clients, primarily cooperatives and similar  enterprises supporting other rural businesses. Root’s financial and operational support is intended not only to support qualifying client businesses, but also to promote positive changes in the economic ecosystem which will facilitate the economic growth of rural businesses well beyond those directly reached by Root. Special areas of focus for Root include bankability, climate resilience, gender engagement, and youth employment.  By engaging in and circulating systematic evaluations of its activities, Root also promotes the sharing of knowledge about successful strategies. Root has focused on export crops such as coffee, cocoa, and specialty nuts, as well as selected local value chains such as grains, sourced  from smallholder farmers. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Root Capital currently has associated offices in Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Ghana, and Kenya. The Africa operations at present include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar, and Tanzania.

Overall Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)

  • Leading and/or managing the loan origination and structuring process, coordinating loan documentation and participating in credit risk approvals.
  • Ensuring high quality due diligence, negotiation, design and underwriting processes
  • Participating actively in regional and global risk management and business development processes
  • Actively participating in  development of regional and global Lending strategy and goal setting.
  • Co-owning and ensuring achievement of the set regional performance targets together with the regional Head of Lending.
  • Ensuring active management by the Lending team on all client relationships.
  • Reviewing  and approving loan proposals as assigned by the regional Head of Lending.
  • Providing professional guidance and mentorship to the Lending staff.
  • Working with the Head of Lending to establish and appraise performance goals for the Lending team
  • Maintaining discipline around credit risk appetite and active solution-based engagement with the Credit Risk team on less performing loans.
  • Ensuring policy compliance across the portfolio of loans in the region.

Breakdown of responsibilities

Business Development (20%) 

  • Ensure the development of a strong loan pipeline of good quality lending candidates.
  • Manage client retention and renewal processes to minimize attrition.
  • Work closely with Business Development to prioritize key country and sector studies and to incorporate findings in building lending portfolios.
  • Actively explore new products and services which would contribute to building the portfolio.
  • Participate in strategic planning and objectives setting to promote business development.

Underwriting and Quality Assurance (50%)

  • Perform and/or oversee due diligence to verify client information, including conducting site visits and management interviews.
  • Conduct and/or oversee financial, operational and management analysis of applicant companies, working with Portfolio Managers/Loan Officers and Credit Analysts.
  • Structure, negotiate and close new transactions in collaboration with Lending staff.
  • Ensure that all proposed loans meet Root Capital’s criteria for credit quality and security.
  • Review Credit Proposals for the team before they are presented to the Credit Committee for approval.
  • Ensure that transactions are in compliance with Root Capital’s policies and practices, including social and environmental impact criteria.
  • Work closely with Lending Operations and Credit Administration to close loans, including ensuring proper documentation, follow-up,  and reporting.
  • Work closely with Credit Administration in relation to transactions involving third party lenders ​(e.g. syndications), communicating and negotiating terms as required.
  • Prepare credit memos, presenting analysis, and making credit recommendations to Root Capital.

Lending Staff Training and Management (30%)

  • Manage Lending activities as assigned by the Head of Lending from time to time.
  • Provide hands-on guidance and mentoring to Credit Analysts and Loan Officers on loan underwriting and documentation.
  • Share feedback on the quality of underwriting and areas of improvement for all the loan memos reviewed.
  • Ensure Lending staff have the information, resources, tools, and support to be effective and motivated.
  • Supervise Credit Analysts in the region.

Perform other relevant duties as assigned.

Required Skills and Experience

  • A minimum of 8-10 years of professional experience and demonstrated capability  in financial analysis and modeling, as well as in underwriting, negotiating, and managing lending transactions, with a strong preference for experience in the agribusiness sector
  • Strong interpersonal, negotiation, people management and presentation skills.
  • University degree in Business management, Accounting, Finance, Statistics, Economics, or any other relevant field from a recognized university
  • Strong preference for experience in managing syndications.
  • Experience in managing a diverse team of professional staff.
  • Solid track-record in developing and nurturing talent and managing diverse teams to drive engagement and performance
  • Ability to work under pressure, establish and maintain deadlines, and  coordinate easily with multiple people across the organization.
  • Strong Microsoft Word and Excel skills are essential
  • Ability to do and to explain to others sophisticated financial analysis and model-building is important
  • Strong interest in and awareness of approaches to service delivery in the field of social impact investing.
  • Passionate about supporting the advancement of Root Capital’s mission of growing prosperity in rural communities in Africa.
  • Flexible to travel within rural areas of East and Southern Africa.
  • Excellent communication skills in English and fluent in Kiswahili language.
  • Commitment to Root Capital’s mission.
  • Authorized to work in Kenya.

Applications

More information about Root Capital is available at www.rootcapital.org. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Candidates are encouraged to apply using the form below as soon as possible, making sure to include a resume and cover letter that describes your interest, qualifications, language abilities, salary requirements, and how you learned of the position. Finalist candidates will be required to provide at least three work-related references.

U.S applicants: Root Capital Inc. participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government your I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S. For more information, see here. Learn more about your right to work.

Root Capital provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, active military or veteran status, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, and breastfeeding and expressing breast milk), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. Root Capital is committed to creating a dynamic work environment that upholds our leadership principles of empowerment, equity, integrity, service, and transparency.

 


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