19 new digital credit providers obtain operating licences in Kenya

March 7, 2024
2 min read
Central Bank of Kenya. Source: Business Daily

The news: 

  • The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has licenced 19 new digital credit providers (DCP), bringing the total number of registered companies to 51.
  • The apex bank disclosed that it had received 480 licencing applications as of March 2023, the most recent licencing announcement, to comply with Section 59(2) of the CBK Act.
  • The complete list of the newly registered companies is as follows: Autocheck, Azura, Chapeo, Chime, Creditarea, Decimal, Dexintec, Factorhouse, Fezotech, Fortune, Lipa Later, Lobelitec, Maralal Ledger, Marble Capital, MKM Capital, Pi Capital, Senti Capital, Ubapesa, and Zillions Credit.

In a statement released on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the regulator noted that the newly licenced credit providers were also duly registered with other regulatory bodies, like the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, to facilitate compliance with the regulations of the digital lending space. 

It explained that other relevant regulators and agencies are being engaged to ensure the applicant’s business model, consumer protection, and leadership are up to standard across the board. 

Furthermore, the CBK stated that it was responsible for ensuring that all approved lenders followed relevant laws and protected the interests of their customers.

This new development, which follows Kenyans’ struggle with a high cost of credit from banks and other players in the financial industry, is expected to ramp up competition in the country’s sector while maintaining high-quality service delivery. 

Following reports of customer data abuse and ridiculously high loan interest rates, the CBK mandated that all DCPs obtain licences to operate by 2022 to impose more regulatory control over Kenya's financial sector. A six-month mandatory registration period came after this move.  

This announcement marks the fourth round of licencing. In the first round, the CBK approved 10 DCPs in September 2022. The second round featured 12 DCPs in January 2023, and the third round saw another 10 DCPs in March 2023.

The central bank disclosed that additional applicants are at varying stages of the registration process, primarily awaiting the submission of pertinent documents; consequently, more DCPs will be licenced.

“We urge these applicants to submit the documentation expeditiously to enable completion of the review of their applications,” the CBK stated. 

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