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DLAK Elects New Leadership Team, Sets Sights on More Consumer Education

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8-Members of the Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK) have elected Alternative Circle CEO Kevin Mutiso as the new Chair of the Board of Directors, to replace Robert Masinde.

Mutiso has previously served as a member of the board since the establishment of the Association in 2019. DLAK brings together the leading digital-first loan providers and associated stakeholders to facilitate mutual growth in the digital lending sector in Kenya.

At the same time,Ivan Mbowa, Tala Regional General Manager was re-elected as Vice-Chairperson.

The new leadership will serve for one year.

Since the establishment of the Association, the board has driven the creation and adoption of a comprehensive Code of Conduct and ramped up membership.

Speaking after his election, Mutiso said DLAK will maintain its focus on constructive engagement with the government in developing responsible regulation and deepening financial inclusion.

He also committed to support and promote ethical business practices in the industry as well as consumer sensitization programmes.

“We stand ready to work with government stakeholders to develop responsible regulation, reign in rogue players, promote fair industry standards, and enhance the competitive landscape in order to increase customer choice,” Mutiso said.

The new chairman also emphasized the need for pricing transparency amongst the members as it puts customers in control and supports competition on the basis of cost and value proposition.

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“Our focus has always been to ensure every customer knows how much their loan will cost in advance and allowing them to make fully informed and value-conscious decisions. This is part of our ethos for positive impact and is entrenched in our code of conduct,” he added.

Members of DLAK work together to set ethical and professional standards in the industry, to collaborate with policymakers and other stakeholders in addressing cross-cutting issues, and to drive the overall growth of the Fintech sector in line with the Economic Pillar of the Vision 2030, MTP III, and the Big Four Agenda.

The Association is open to all ethical digital lenders subject to signing and demonstrating a commitment to the DLAK Code of Conduct, which covers granular requirements around the granting and repayment of digital loans, consumer protection, marketing and advertising, collaboration with stakeholders and regulators, and debt collection.

As the economy emerges from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, DLAK members are aligned with the government in leveraging technology to advance financial inclusion and empower small businesses and individuals in a fair and responsible manner.

“The industry remains committed to supporting the business community, especially small businesses and the informal sector to restart and recover their businesses affected by the pandemic,” Vice-Chairperson  Mbowa said.

The new leadership team will be crucial in driving the industry to provide leadership and engage other stakeholders in addressing a range of industry practices that have the potential to cause harm to Kenyan borrowers.

These include concerns of opaque loan pricing disclosure, problematic debt collection practices, violations of data privacy expectations, loan stacking and related credit bureau challenges, and the lack of oversight of bad actors.

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