Kenya has become a lucrative market for digital lenders. Given the fact most people are making a living in the informal sector and don’t have much going their way in terms of credit security. More often than not, a conventional bank will likely turn down a loan request by the average Kenyan who walk in their front doors.
For decades the banks have for the most part steered clear of Kenyans who are either not employed, or don’t report high revenue turnover for a number of years. Leaving fintech innovations such as mobile money services to cater to this market. The only problem has been, the fintech solutions have been having such a good run with this market, now conventional banks wants in.
Through the Central Bank of Kenya, it is clear that the mainstream banking system is lobbying to have lenders within the fintech space regulated. As it is, fintech lending money to Kenyans are not operating within a central government stipulated standards.
That in itself is a double-edged sword; they are just as likely to operate in a Shylock fashion as they are likely to help Kenyans access credit without all the bureaucracies conventional banks use to lock out some people.
“There has to be a proper regulation, where similar products are regulated in a similar way so long as you are lending to customers or receiving deposits. If you have a banking function, it is not just about the name; you have to be regulated in the same way or it will lead to arbitrage,” said the CBK Governor, Patrick Njoroge.
Under the umbrella group, Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK), the digital lenders have come together to form a common voice and be better placed at negotiating favorable terms with the financial sector regulator, the CBK. This move comes after the Banking Charter coming into effect, a new set of operating standards seeking to regulate the digital lenders.
“A vibrant and diverse digital lending sector has successfully established itself in the country and we feel the time is right to give it a voice and promote global best standards,” said Robert Masinde, the newly appointed DLAK Chairperson and the CEO at Zenka Finance.
Under DLAK are 12 leading digital lenders and stakeholders in promoting digital consumption of credit especially when it comes to the acquisition of consumer goods. The founding members are:
|Tala||Alternative Circle||Stawika Capital|
|LPesa||Kopacent||Four Kings Investment|
|Kuwazo Capital||Mobile Financial Solutions||Finance Plan Ltd.|