App doubles Barclays’ loan applications to 10,000 per day


Barclays managing director Jeremy Awori at Timiza launch last March. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

Barclays Bank of Kenya’s mobile loan service, Timiza, has pushed up the lender’s loan applications to 10,000 per day thanks to about three million borrowers using the platform.

The bank says this is a jump from 5,000 loan applications per month that it was processing before the app was launched in mid-March last year.

“Timiza has enabled us to reach a unique target market that is in need of financing but is often left out because they don’t have the requisite documentation and want faster turnaround times,” said the bank.

Along with Timiza, the growing space of bank-backed lending app products includes Commercial Bank of Africa’s M-Shwari, Equitel, M-Co-op Cash, and KCB M-Pesa.

The growth of products also underlines the growing importance of digital loans in the economy as more lenders continue to strengthen their offering.

Banks have relied on such applications to disburse high volumes of loans with low value, thereby making normal in-branch loan applications remain on the lead in terms of value. For instance, Barclays’ app allows only up to Sh150,000.

Barclays tied the loan app with mobile insurance, which enables customers to access personal accident and funeral expense cover for as little as Sh42 per month. The lender says about 15,000 insurance policies had been subscribed to, so far.

Digital loan products have been on a rise in the market despite concerns that they are becoming a debt trap for customers.

Sector regulators have also cautioned that the rapidly growing digital loans market has attracted a wide range of formal and unregulated operators who pose serious money laundering and terrorism financing risks to the economy. The Central Bank of Kenya said in the 2017 financial sector stability report the majority of outfits offering digital loans do so on relaxed terms and know so little about their customers.