KCB CEO Oigara Hints Launch of Streamlined Loan Product with Safaricom

KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara

KCB and Safaricom are working on a product that will see M-Shwari, KCB M-PESA, Fuliza and M-PESA as a whole create a single platform for loans.

This development was said by KCB CEO Joshua Oigara, following an interesting interview with The Standard Team.

According to the discussion with the journalists, KCB’s relationship with Safaricom has been great, following a friendship struck between its CEO and former Safaricom CEO the late Bob Collymore.

During the talk, it emerged that the birth of KCB M-PESA emanated from business discussions between the two executives, who were looking into innovative ways to make their respective institutions some revenue.

KCB M-PESA was born out of their correspondence. It managed to attract up to 5 million customers after a short time. So far, it has millions of users (30 million), and after dispensing KES 600 million in loans at launch in 2014, the number has gone so much higher than that at KES 212 billion as of 2019.

These kinds of partnerships have made the telco billions in revenue, and they do not end there.

Besides KCB M-PESA, the carrier runs M-Shwari with NCBA. M-Shwari was launched as savings platform. However, customers can also access loans from it.

In 2019, Safaricom launched Fuliza in partnership with NCBA (40%) and KCB (20%). It is an overdraft facility that helps customer complete payments or send cash to friends and family in case their funds run low on M-PESA.

While not advertised as a loan product (it is an overdraft facility), the majority of Kenyans have been using it as another avenue to access loans – even taking extra steps to get hard cash (like overdrawing the money to a second line in order to withdraw).

The products, namely Fuliza, KCB-MPESA and M-Shwari, should reportedly create a single loans platform for customers.

Additional details, including how it will work, partners and if it will phase out other platforms, are unknown. Also, such products take some time to develop, so it wouldn’t be surprising if we don’t hear about it for a while.

Safaricom is trying to recoup its earnings from -MPESA from poor performance in the HY of the 2020/2021 financial year.

Whether the plan entails streaming its loan facilities with other financial companies is something we will have to wait and see.