During a Kenya Bankers’ CEO chat on Friday, it was revealed that local banks would, through the Kenyan Bankers Association (KBA), soon launch an Inuka initiative for small and medium enterprises (SME’s).
Accelerated lending to SME’s was one of the pledges that the banks had set out to accomplish ahead of the passing of the interest rate capping bill of 2016 by Kenya’s parliament as it edged closer to becoming a law. The banks committed to set aside SME support facilities at all banks that would channel Kshs 30 billion to SME’s and a third of that would go to SME’s owned by women and youth. These firms would borrow at a concessionary rate not exceeding 14.5% and banks would progressively report, each quarter, on their allocations, SME loan uptake, and loan performance.
But the interest rate cap did pass, which resulted in SME’s borrowing at the same level of interest that the banks had pledged. Other commitments that the banks made and which they have fulfilled include ending the practice of account oolong charges, and they also rolled out the KBA cost of credit web site and calculator to enable bank customers to properly assess the cost of loans offered, with the impact of bank fees, before they commit to borrow any money.
After the chat with I&M Bank CEO, two more KBA CEO chats are scheduled in that next few weeks with the CEO’s of Dubai Islamic Bank Kenya on 29th September and of Family Bank on 6th October.
This week, mVisa was launched in Nairobi. It had earlier debuted as a pilot with Family Bank nine months ago butis now live at eight other banks including Barclays, Cooperative, Ecobank, KCB, National Bank, NIC, Prime and Standard Chartered.
The roll out comes with free person-to-person (P2P) money transfers for mVisa customers at these banks to others registered mVisa members at any of the banks. For example, customers of Cooperative Bank can get mVisa by updating their MCo-op cash phone apps or those without MCo-op cash can get it by dialing USSD *667# on their phones and this will bring up mVisa which they can send to any other mVisa users and pay for goods and services at no extra cost.
mVisa depiction from Visa site.
For merchants, payment is by a QR code within a phone or via a card displayed at a shop or other places of business. QR codes enable transfers without the need for a smart phone and for merchants, they can accept payments without having to invest in expensive point of sale devices such as card readers.
There was a neat video shown about how a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) operator could have a QR code on the back of their safety jacket – and which a passenger could scan to complete a payment. mVisa aims to drive financial inclusion and a comment was made that one cost to using cash (which is not transparent) is that small businesses (SME’s) may have good sales and receipts, but can’t get credit from banks; therefore easing the processing of verifiable payments to a business will enhance its viability.
mVisa is now live in Kenya , India, Rwanda and Egypt with plans to launch in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Vietnam underway.
On Thursday evening, Standard Chartered Bank launched an SME capacity building program as part of a partnership between the Bank, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) and the Institute for Small-Business Initiatives at the Strathmore Business School.
Standard Chartered Bank’s Head of Retail Banking, Mr. David Idoru, noted that the Bank’s strategy in opening a relationship club for its business clients was in line with its Business Banking Recognition Program that aims at growing its clienteles’ businesses through the Bank’s networks and partners. Also that Standard Chartered affirmed that it would be increasing its lending to SMEs by over Kshs 12 billion over the year (It’s loan portfolio as at December 2016 was Kshs 122.7 billion).
Members will get a 20% discount when they enroll in entrepreneurship classes at Strathmore and also get a chance to network with other SME’s in China, Malaysia and Singapore.
A snapshot of the pipeline of approved, pending, and other projects at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that relate to Kenya. The IFC is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank and lends to private sector projects and entities in diverse sectors such as finance, logistics, energy, communications, and health, among others.
- (Considering advancing $1.19 million to) Co-operative Bank to increase access to finance to the underserved SME market segment
- Britam Holdings (Kenya Shillings 3,553,375, 000 equity (approximately US$35 million for 10.37% of Britam to support the insurance company develop its local agency network, strengthen its capital base, and the integration of a new IT platform.
- KCB Group ($75 million loan) facility to KCB to be on-lent as Tier II qualifying subordinated debt.
- NIC Bank ($198,000) and is designed to increase access to finance to the underserved SME market segment.
- Equity Group Holdings (US$100 million senior loan) to help the Bank grow its lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (“SME”), women entrepreneurs and to support the continued diversification of funding sources.
Communication & Infrastructure
- C-Squared – IFC ($15 million) together with Google Inc., Convergence Partners, and Mitsui & C to start a partnership in CSquared building metro fibre optic networks in Sub-Saharan Africa starting in Uganda and Ghana
- Western Indian Ocean Cable Company (US$20 million) to fund regional expansion through the acquisition of additional capacity in Africa, increase connectivity to other fibre optic systems, upgrade its capacity on the EASSy cable and purchase network equipment.
- Investisseurs and Partenaires Afrique Entrepreneurs II ($10 million into the $80 million IPAE Fund), that will invest in small and medium companies in West, Central, East Africa and the Indian Ocean Region.
- LeapFrog Emerging Consumer Fund III ($25 million) to make mid-market growth capital investments into financial services and healthcare investments.
- Catalyst Fund II, LLC (US$15 million) to the fund that is seeking to raise up to US$200 million in third party commitments to make 8-12 mid-market growth capital investments.
- (IFC to invest $7.5 million in) Fanisi Capital Fund II, a 10 year closed-end SME Ventures fund targeting growth-oriented SMEs in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in four sectors: agribusiness, retail consumer (FMCG), healthcare and education.
- African Local Currency Bond Fund (investment of $40 million) in a local currency bond fund sponsored by KfW and managed by LHGP Asset Management LLP.
- ($3 million loan to) Nespresso (guaranteed by Nestlé S.A.) and $3 million grant from the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund (to be disbursed through the Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund) to support smallholder coffee farmers and producers in Ethiopia and Kenya involved in Nespresso’s AAA Program that is being implemented by TechnoServe.
- Kenya Tea Development Agency ($2.7 million)
- (A proposed investment in Tropical Heat) to finance the expansion plans of the company which has purchased eight acres of land in Redhill to set up a new state-of-the-art factory, free of logistical constraints, and add production lines as needed for exports in the region.
- (Approved loan of $3.5 million to) Insta Products (EPZ) a producer of ready to use therapeutic food, a high calorie fortified peanut paste based food product.
Energy & Logistics
- Tobene Power SA – Melec PowerGen thermal plant in Senegal.
- Africa Logistics Properties (US$10 million in ALP) which will develop and manage Grade A warehousing space in sub-Saharan Africa. For the first phase of this project, ALP is raising US$65-70 million to develop three key strategic sites (Tatu, Tilisi and Embakasi) around Nairobi. In May 2017, they broke ground on the Tatu one which, with 50,000 sqm in three units, will be the largest warehouse in Kenya to be built to international standards.
- (IFC is looking to invest $5 million in equity with Investec Africa Private Equity Fund II) in Mobisol, a pay-as-you-go off-grid solar electricity provider operating in Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda.
- The Medical Credit Fund (MCF) is a financing and technical assistance vehicle with a mandate to improve access to quality healthcare for underserved populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- IFC is considering a $10 million loan to Meghji Pethraj Shah Hospital (M.P. Shah) is one of Kenya’s oldest and most reputed hospitals for the construction and equipping of a new physiotherapy building and purchase of key medical equipment.
From Other Sources
- IFC owns 10% of Kenya Airways that’s about to undergo a balance sheet restructuring.
- As Kenya plans a green bond launch, in in South Africa, IFC successfully raised a 9-year, 1 billion Rand Green Bond via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
- Gulf African Bank aims to support SME businesses in Uasin Gishu County through provision of affordable Shari’ah compliant financing facilities and free business advisory services to be offered in partnership with (IFC.
- The KCB Foundation and IFC, have a partnership to improve the sustainability of SME’s within the informal sector through IFC training within 2jiajiri to improve the management capacity and business performance of SME’s.
- IFC invested $15 million in the Stanlib Fahari I-Reit.
Last week, the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) in conjunction with the Central Bank of Kenya launched the cost of credit loans calculator feature.
It is available on the KBA website and as an app (in the google store) and one important feature is that it allows borrowers to see the annual percentage rate (APR) – the true cost of a loan, which can vary greatly from the original loan interest rate that is advertised. It also enables customers to download repayment schedules and see the entire amount that has to be paid back to a bank (the total cost of credit).
Many loan customers pay their installment and get to what they consider the end of the loans only to find they owe a bit more. This is because they only go by the amortization rate (schedule of principal and interest) but leave out other charges and fees which are incurred in securing the loans – such as legal fees, insurance, government taxes and fees, valuation, security and other loan fees.
At the time of drawing a loan, there’s a temptation to forego paying many of these upfront, and ask the bank to add the myriad charges on to the loan – but these can add up over the duration of the loan.
This comes after an earlier attempt by the KBA to get all banks to price their loans around a single rate – the Kenya Bankers Reference Rate – KBRR. This was abandoned after interest rate caps law was passed in 2016.