Branch Welcomes Regulation Discussion with Govt, Secures KES 500 Million in Funding

Dan Karuga - GM Branch East Africa
Dan Karuga - GM Branch East Africa

Digital lender Branch has announced full repayment of a KES 500 million commercial paper, as well as the issuance of a fourth note of the same amount.

This development marks one of the firm’s many funding programs that have since added up to more than KES 1.5 billion in local funding since the first investment in 2017.

Branch has solely been backed by Barium Capital, which is owned by Centum. The funds will see the company expand its turf in the Kenyan market, although no specifics have been provided at the moment.

Earlier in 2019, Branch received KES 17 from World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, Visa, Foundation Capital, Trinity Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, among other players. The capital will supplement the latest drive to further popularize the Branch brand in the country.

“Our investor base continues to be keen to be part of Branch’s growth story, and we’re proud to have secured them an opportunity to do so,” said Teresia Muthoni, Barium Capital’s Managing Director.

“With the high rate of smartphone adoption in emerging markets, Branch is uniquely positioned to leverage its advanced use of data science to underwrite and provide credit and other financial services to more customers than ever before. As we scale our services in Kenya, we welcome regulation of our sector and looking forward to working with the Kenyan Government on this initiative,” remarked Dan Karuga, East Africa General Manager for Branch.

Branch is one of the tens of digital lenders that have managed to make a name for themselves in the Kenyan space. Online lenders have also found the local market as accommodative as they come due to existing technologies such as mobile money (driven primarily by M-PESA) and admirable penetration of internet services. The two factors have catapulted the lending space to great heights – although the CBK may be planning to introduce checks and balances in the ecosystem in the near future.

“As we scale our services in Kenya, we welcome the regulation of our sector and looking forward to working with the Kenyan Government on this initiative,” added Dan Karuga.

Digital lenders launch shop from time to time. This has diluted the authenticity of the space owing to the existence of some shady firms that have regulation a nightmare and subjecting their users to exploitation. Arguably, all participating apps are not bound to finance or data protection laws at the moment, a setback that has allowed them to expand their trade while harming the people they are supposed to help.