The repayment period for loans for small businesses through the Hustlers Fund will be capped at 14 days in a plan that looks set to open a window for small businesses to access cheaper credit.
The fund, launched yesterday, will see minimum borrowers get Sh500 while the largest amount advanced will be Sh50,000 at an interest rate of eight per cent.
With a 14-day repayment period and an annual interest rate of eight per cent calculated per day, a customer who borrows Sh500 will pay back Sh501.53 after 14 days, representing Sh1.53 in interest.
At eight per cent per month, the interest is lower than the latest average bank borrowing cost of 12.38 per cent and annualised M-Shwari charges of 108 per cent.
"We have about eight million Kenyans who have been blacklisted by lenders. The Hustlers fund will give them a second chance... Even those who had been sent away by lending apps, this is your chance to redeem yourself,” said President William Ruto during the launch of the Fund in Nairobi yesterday.
The Sh50 billion fund will see customers who have not refunded the facility in 14 days get an extra 15 days to repay and if the loan is still not settled, the interest rate increases to 9.5 per cent per year.
In the event a customer is not able to repay back the loan after the extension, the Hustler Fund account is frozen and the borrower loses all accumulated credit scores after more than 30 days of default.
There is also no CRB listing under the Sh50 billion kitty, which means that default has no impact on the debtor’s credit score with other lenders. The borrower who defaults may pay off the loan all at once or in instalments, and after full repayment, they may borrow again.
When a customer borrows, the approved loan is sent to their mobile money account, deposits 95 per cent of it in their money wallet, and places five per cent of it in their savings account.
The five per cent that goes toward the savings plan is split into 30 per cent for short-term savings and 70 per cent for long-term (pension) savings.
Kenyans can access the Hustler Fund through a USSD code and mobile app platforms offered by mobile network providers like Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom.
In case someone borrows the loan erroneously, the loan cannot be reversed and must be repaid. The loan is repaid through one’s mobile money account.
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The Hustlers Fund will provide State-backed concessional loans to small businesses that have struggled to access financing from mainstream banks.
The fund will be the centrepiece of President Ruto’s job creation agenda, especially with the outgoing government extended the hiring freeze in parastatals, dashing the hopes of thousands of jobless Kenyans in an economy where companies are shedding jobs.