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KMRC's past event, which included the attendance of President Uhuru Kenyatta/COURTESY

Kenya

Shelter Afrique, IFC join Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company as shareholders

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC), the public-private partnership (PPP) firm formed by the government to make home loans affordable in Kenya, held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday, during which its board approved two new shareholders.

The meeting, held virtually, in line with government restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19, saw KMRC’s board formally approve the entry of two new shareholders; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is the private sector arm of the World Bank and the Company for Habitat and Housing in Africa (Shelter Afrique), a pan-African housing and real estate development financier.

The other shareholders include the National Treasury and some 20 Primary Mortgage Lenders (PMLs); eight banks, one MFBs (Micro Finance Bank), and 11 SACCOs (Savings and Credit Cooperatives).

The bank shareholders are KCB Group, Cooperative Bank, DTB, HF Group, NCBA, Absa Kenya, Stanbic and Credit Bank. Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (KWFT) is the sole MFB (Micro Finance Bank) shareholder while SACCO shareholders include Kenya Police, Mwalimu National, Safaricom, Ukulima, Bingwa, Imarisha, Unaitas, Imarika, Tower, Stima and Harambee.

Said KMRC’s Acting Chairman, Dr. Haron Sirima, who represents the National Treasury on the board: “Today’s AGM is a key and historic milestone for KMRC. With the facilitation and support of the board, we are now properly and fully equipped to play our role in revolutionizing the home loans market in Kenya, while making homes affordable for as many of wananchi as possible.”

“From an operational standpoint, I can confirm that everything is now in place for us to start providing long-term finance to participating financial institutions, for onward lending to home loan borrowers at affordable rates on KMRC obtains a license,” added Acting CEO Johnstone Oltetia.

KMRC was established two years ago to support the Affordable Housing Pillar of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Agenda Four development blueprint, by providing secure, long term finance to Primary Mortgage Lenders (PMLs), who are then supposed to advance the same to individual borrowers.

The idea is to address the shortage of long-term finance in the Kenyan financial market while addressing the problem of asset maturity mismatch, which is responsible for the high cost and general inaccessibility of home loans to many Kenyans. It also seeks to refinance or purchase eligible home loans and invest in government debt securities or other guaranteed debt.

The AGM comes in the wake of the recent Budget Speech, in which National Treasury and Planning CS Ukur Yatani amplified the critical role KMRC is expected to play in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by “maintaining adequate liquidity among primary mortgage lenders (banks and SACCOs) in order to keep housing finance and the housing market functioning.”

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“This will avert potential credit crunch that would hurt lower income households and interrupt efforts to support affordable housing,” said Amb. Yatani. KMRC is also expected to play a key role in the structuring of the proposed National Credit Guarantee Scheme to create “an effective backstop mortgage guarantee component to cover the losses incurred by lenders on future home loans.”

The CS further noted that KMRC had already raised Sh2 billion capital from its shareholders, while the National Treasury had mobilized Sh35 billion from development partners for its operations.

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