NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Kenyans who will find it hard to service their personal loans because the coronavirus pandemic can now request their banks to extend it by one year.
This is part of measures adopted by the Government to cushion Kenyans from a looming economic crisis, as the majority opt to work from home to mitigate the spread of the virus that has infected 7 people in Kenya by Wednesday.
Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge on Wednesday said all loans that were eligible by March 2 will be qualified for this consideration.
“While the extent of the adverse effects are still evolving, it is already evident that the impact on some of the customers may be severe. To help alleviate the adverse effects, the banks will seek to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans based on their individual circumstances arising from the pandemic,” he said after a meeting at State House Nairobi, convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta to find measures of stabilising the economy in the face of the pandemic.
With Kenya having closed borders for foreigners from countries ravaged by the virus, the country is staring at an imminent economic crunch unless measures are implemented to cushion traders and farmers.
The CBK Governor said banks will also waive all online costs for balance inquiry and cash transfers to mobile banking, in a move meant to encourage Kenyans to use mobile digital platforms.
Medium-sized enterprises and corporate borrowers, can contact their banks for assessment and restructuring of their loans based on their individual circumstances arising from the pandemic.
“Banks will meet all the costs related to the extension and restructuring of loans,” the Governor said.
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said the banking sector is committed to assist the Government in shielding Kenyans,
“What I am asking all our customers to do is to reach out to any of the institutions they bank with today so that they can get the relief,” Oigara said.
President Kenyatta has commended the banking sector for the measures adopted, saying it has proven that they are more of patriots than businessmen.
“What we are dealing with today is primarily a health crisis and that is bound to have a financial and economic impact,” the President said. “We need to pull together as a country and see how we can overcome not just the health crisis but the associated issues that are most likely to develop.”