Standard Chartered Plc #ticker:SCBK is set to enter the local e-commerce business through Solv, a technology firm it first launched in India in December 2020.
The multinational’s local subsidiary, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, is expected to be among the financial partners of the platform which offers small businesses an online marketplace, support services and credit from multiple lenders.
“Expansion of Solv India tech stack to Kenya to attract financial anchors for scale with additional countries being assessed,” Standard Chartered Plc said when releasing results for the year ended December.
The entry of Solv marks increased interest in the country’s financial technology sector where digitisation of supply chains for small and medium-sized firms is one of the growing trends.
Solv India says it has signed up 1,000 sellers and 30,000 buyers in the Asian country. The platform offers an online business-to-business marketplace where sellers are able to reach new and verified customers.
Buyers on the other hand can source quality products at competitive prices from verified and pre-screened suppliers. Through Solv, businesses can access loans and invoice-based financing for orders placed on the platform.
Other services include logistics and insurance. Standard Chartered Plc owns Solv and launched it in India through SC Ventures –its innovation, venture capital, and financial technology arm.
Its local banking subsidiary Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, in which it holds a majority 73.89 percent stake, is expected to be among the providers of the loans to be issued on Solv.
It will mark StanChart’s growth and diversification outside the mainstay of corporate banking. The lender has been expanding its financial services, most of them automated, to fit its digitisation strategy.
The bank last year announced plans to enter the mobile lending business which has emerged as a popular means of serving retail clients.
It recently entered the money market fund business in partnership with Sanlam Investments East Africa and global digital wealth technology provider Bambu, allowing customers to make investments of as low as Sh1,000.
This adds to its wealth management business through which customers can buy and sell Kenya government debt securities on its digital platform SC Mobile app.
StanChart reported a 46.6 percent net profit growth in the nine months ended September on the back of lower costs and higher non-interest income.
Its net earnings in the review period stood at Sh6.3 billion, up from Sh4.3 billion a year earlier.
The performance saw the bank declare a surprise interim dividend of Sh5 per share.