Technology

Digital lender Okolea moves to cushion borrowers

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CBK barred unregulated digital mobile lenders from forwarding names of loan defaulters owing less than Sh1,000. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Digital lender Okolea International Ltd has restructured nearly 40,000 loans to cushion borrowers amidst the economic slowdown caused by coronavirus pandemic.

Many businesses have closed or slowed down operations with thousands of employees either sacked or sent on unpaid leave as firms seek to cope from the effects of restrictions on movements.

As a result, payment of loans has been hampered as incomes have significantly reduced.

Okolea chief executive officer Peter Muraya said the relief package will enable customers service their loans on time.

“This has seen loans which were previously to be paid on a one-month basis restructured with new payment duration of up to 24 months,” Mr Muraya said. The firm has also removed defaulters whose names were forwarded to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) for not paying loans below Sh1,000.

This comes after the Central Bank of Kenya barred unregulated digital mobile lenders from forwarding names of loan defaulters owing less than Sh1,000.

“Since most of these customers are either unemployed or students, this could have been a barrier for getting employment in some institutions,” he said.

However, Mr Muraya urged CBK to engage with digital lenders through their association, the Digital Lenders of Kenya, to iron out issues on submission of customers data to CRBs.

“It is my sentiment that not allowing lenders with good practices ability to submit data could deny good customers a chance to strengthen their credit profiles,” Mr Muraya said.