Nine out of 10 loans disbursed on mobile loans are disbursed by commercial banks. This is according to a survey by Creditinfo which reveals that 3 million Kenyans accessed mobile loans in Q4 of 2018.

The survey, which reviewed data from 16 banks and Microfinance institutions, showed that there are nearly 5 million active mobile credit borrowers with loans amounting to Sh151 billion.

The average loan per user was about Sh5,200 in 2018, but each user had on average 5 loans from different sources.

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“Banking sectors had a dominant role in mobile loan market in 2018. Less than 10 percent of mobile loans were issued by MFI and other sectors,” said Creditinfo.

Since Safaricom’s M-PESA partnered with CBA (Mshwari) and KCB (KCBM-Pesa) to roll out mobile financial services over five years ago, banks have increasingly dedicated resources to unveil mobile-first products; Barclays released Timiza, Equity has its Eazzy app while HF Group unveiled its HFWhizz this year.

The survey by Creditinfo debunks the commonly held belief that lending apps such as Tala and Branch dominate the mobile credit space in Kenya.

Ali Hussein Kassim, CEO of FinteXX explained on his LinkedIn profile that stand-alone lending apps have a longer and harder route to market compared to banks.

“To lend humongous amounts of money you need a mobilization engine…and for banks that’s deposits. Tala and branch don’t have that. They must go to the open market to borrow. And it’s expensive,” commented Hussein after posting his takeaways from the Creditinfo survey.

“The fact is this:- Fintechs are moving towards banks and banks are moving towards fintechs,” said Hussein.