NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Hunger for credit in the country especially due to high interest rates by commercial banks, may now give room for expansion in other financial institutions.
Faulu Kenya, a deposit taking microfinance, which has a customer base of about 400,000 has entered into partnership with Airtel Kenya which has over two million customers to provide small loans through mobile phones.
The service dubbed ‘Faulu Airtel Kopa Chapaa service’ is targeted at customers in the lower end of the market, who seem to have been adversely affected by the increase in the interest rates which have gone up as high as 30 percent.
Speaking during the launch, Airtel Kenya Managing Director Shivan Bhargava said the firm was considering partnerships with other microfinance institutions and adopt the latest technologies through innovative financial products.
“The service we are launching today, Kopa Chapaa, will give consumers in Kenya financial freedom as far as banking services are concerned. Airtel customers who have been transacting money for the last six months will be able to pick this service, ” Bhargava added.
Customers can now borrow a minimum of Sh100 and a maximum of Sh10,000 with a minimum repayment period of 10 days and maximum of 30 days.
Interest rates will range between three and 10 percent, depending on the amount borrowed.
“In the Vision 2030 financial inclusion has been identified as one of the key pillars that will help to alleviate poverty by ensuring that more Kenyans participate in nation building, by being economically enabled. We have a key role to not only provide solutions, but provide leadership in the solutions that will ensure that many more Kenyans become financially included,” Faulu Managing Director John Mwara said.
The partnership is planning to increase the amount to be borrowed from the current Sh10,000 to Sh75,000 by the end of the year.
Providing financial services to Kenyans living in rural areas with limited access to conventional financial services remains a challenge goal, due to communications infrastructure, relatively low population density low levels of literacy and relatively undiversified economies.
Currently only 10 million Kenyans can access banking services.