NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Faulu Microfinance Bank Limited has opened a new branch in Limuru Town in Kiambu County, eyeing the rich agricultural and commercial potential in the region, with specific focus on farmers and small enterprises in the agribusiness value chain.
According to Faulu Bank CEO Apollo Njoroge, Limuru is strategically located in one of the country’s most productive agricultural regions and is a fast-growing commercial hub.
The Bank, he added, plans to lend up to Sh300 million over the next 12 months to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Limuru region to expand their operations.
This is part of the Ksh3 billion the Bank has set aside to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across key sectors like agriculture, trade, retail, construction and transport, recover from economic challenges related to Covid-19.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Njoroge said “Limuru is a major tea producing area but we also like the vibrant businesses we are seeing here. Having a presence here positions us to scale up our support to small enterprises and individuals in the lucrative agribusiness value chain.”
He added that Faulu is in the next twelve months targeting to lend to over 1,000 customers in Limuru most of whom are involved in poultry, dairy, horticulture and other agricultural value chain activities including input supply.
Faulu Microfinance Bank, part of the Old Mutual Group will also provide business training for its SME and individual customers to empower them with skills to grow their businesses.
Kiambu County Governor Dr. James Nyoro, who was the chief guest at the launch ceremony, hailed Faulu’s move to open a third branch in the county saying this will create more opportunities for residents to improve their economic and financial wellbeing.
He also disclosed that the county government is rolling out programs targeting small businesses with affordable credit. “We are in discussions with financial institutions like Faulu Bank to provide flexible loans to SMEs since access to credit remains a big constraint for small businesses. I encourage the small traders to open accounts with banks like Faulu and grow their savings to enable them to borrow money to expand their businesses,” said Dr. Nyoro.
Faulu’s new branch in Limuru previously served as a sale and marketing center and is one of eight such centers the Bank has earmarked for full conversion into branches. The others are Ugunja, Kapenguria, Homa Bay, Kericho, Busia, Voi and Bondo.
Limuru is the third branch Faulu is opening in Kiambu County after Thika and Kiambu Town. In addition to agribusiness, Faulu is keen on tapping into the booming real estate market in the county.
“Among the unique products we are offering include landlord loans for construction and rehabilitation of rental units in areas like Limuru, Ruaka, Gachie, Banana, Ndenderu, Wangige and Kikuyu,” explained the Faulu Bank boss.
Limuru is also home to some of the largest tea plantations in Kenya. Faulu will be seeking to partner with such entities as well as the county government to provide financial products to salaried employees.
Njoroge said Faulu products come with several perks including insurance benefits on the Maisha Account. For a premium of only Kshs.631 annually, one is entitled to a life cover of Sh100,000 and a benefit of Sh50,000. For a family of six, the total premium is Sh1,003.
Faulu Bank is also forging partnerships with national and county governments given that many of its customers are suppliers of public goods and services. “A lot of business is happening in the counties and by offering products like LPO financing, we are providing much needed financial support to enable our customers meet their contractual obligations.”
Last year, Faulu opened new branches in Homa Bay, Busia, Bondo and Kericho as it seeks to expand its footprint in the counties. So far, the Bank has 61 branches and is also refurbishing some outlets to transform the customer experience and offer greater convenience. These include Karatina, Thika, Nyeri, Kitui, Molo and Mwingi.
Last month, Faulu announced a Sh500 million trade finance facility for larger SMEs involved in construction, trade, agribusiness and import business.
Njoroge reiterated the bank’s commitment to helping its customers recover from economic challenges related to Covid-19.
“Many businesses struggled through last year but fortunately, the economy is gradually improving and we expect businesses to recover though they still need financial support as many had pulled back from borrowing due to depressed activity.”