Inside StanChart rollout of mobile personal loans


StanChart Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya #ticker:SCBK plans to give customers the option of applying for personal loans remotely through its imminent entry into the mobile lending segment, chief executive Kariuki Ngari has said.

This will be in addition to offering low-value mobile credit through the planned roll out of a mobile loan app, more than two years after enabling clients to open and transact on accounts without visiting the bank through a mobile digital mobile bank app dubbed SC Mobile.

The lender, however, says it does not intend to use the mobile loan app as a route to penetrate the mass market, but rather de-congest its branches of borrowers seeking credit services.

Mr Ngari says the lender, controlled by UK’s Standard Chartered Group, has done “bit of work” around mobile lending app based on feedback from customers who want to get credit digitally.

“It [imminent entry into mobile lending] is not just about the traditional digital lending, but why can’t we be able to do everything digitally like apply for credit card and get a response or apply for a personal loan,” the StanChart chief said in an interview.

StanChart has received approval from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to venture into the digital micro-lending space, joining its peers in the top-tier segment such as KCB #ticker:KCB, Equity #ticker:EQTY, NCBA #ticker:NCBA, Co-operative #ticker:COOP and Absa Kenya #ticker:ABSA.

StanChart’s customer base has, however, been concentrated in the upper end of the banking pyramid, and the lender insists it is not about to shift its focus with the planned entry with the launch of a mobile loan app.

“I wouldn’t say StanChart now wants to completely go down where everybody is. We know where our strength is, and it’s an important area because it’s an area we understand and our clients connect with us, and that’s an area we will continue doubling down to ensure we continue being relevant in that segment,” Mr Ngari said.

“Nobody leaves where they are strong at and try to explore because you can find yourself not standing at all after that.”