Trading platform plans to list SMEs data with credit bureaus

In the last four years, more than two million people have been negatively listed on Kenya’s CRBs. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tech trading platform, Kountable which facilitates procurement of goods on credit enabling local suppliers service tenders has announced plans to list all client data with credit reference bureaus (CRBs).

Kountable's chief executive Chris Hale said the move is aimed at giving lenders information on SMEs.

"A lot of our customers do millions of dollars in trade successfully, manage multiple trades at the same time, are communicative, give us the right data, deliver on expectations, meet their customer's requirements and get paid," he said.

The move could adversely hurt suppliers servicing national and county government tenders who are still awaiting payments valued at Sh300 billion for goods delivered and service rendered in the last seven years. Mr Hale said the SMEs that pay for goods facilitated by Kountable demonstrate “the right kinds of behaviours that lenders need to know”.

“Because our technology platform measures and manages that international trade transaction, sharing that information with the financial ecosystem can help our partners develop their businesses,” he said.


Kountable defended their decision saying filing all SMEs’ financial and transactional history is “a new benefit” as it provides lenders with useful credit history that enables them to gauge an SME’s credit-risk score when determining the amount of loan and interest rate.

“It is a new benefit for our partner SMEs who typically lack a credit history. A pervasive problem for SMEs across the globe is the absence of a financial footprint or a ‘thin file,’ because of the limited credit information gathered for these hundreds of millions of businesses,” the firm said.

Kountable said partner SMEs have access to better commercial terms with global suppliers from whom they purchase goods.

A government agency, public entities and other credit information providers may enter into contracts with CRBs for provision of accurate information on credit history.

Among those legible for listing on the CRB platform are loan defaulters with information sourced from lenders and saccos.

Recently, the Higher Education Loans Board threatened to list 67,000 loan defaulters over unpaid student loans worth Sh6.5 billion. If acted upon, those listed risk filing to get clearance to vie for political posts, apply for public sector jobs as well as risk being denied access to loans from saccos and commercial banks.

In the last four years, more than two million people have been negatively listed on Kenya’s CRBs.