We are hoping that soon, predatory digital lending apps will be a thing of the past if the proposed CBK (Amendment) Bill, 2021 will sail through Parliament and receive the President’s signature.
The proposal has given digital lenders up to six months to get their business in order because, and as it has been known, the space is unregulated, meaning the shylocks masquerading as fintech lenders have the freedom to do whatever they want, including charging customers exorbitant rates for loans disbursed with very short repayment times.
“The principal object of this Bill is to amend the Central Bank of Kenya Act to provide for licensing of digital credit service providers, who are not regulated under any other law. The current position is that there is no legal framework governing digital borrowing platforms. As such, the Central Bank of Kenya will have an obligation of ensuring that there is a fair and non-discriminatory marketplace for access to credit,” reads the proposal.
The amendment is receiving support from the government, and it seeks to empower CBK to supervise online lenders for the first time ever.
The management will see that their interest rates match industry standards, bearing in mind that their current rates are illegal, to say the least, and have seen many Kenyans plunge into unnecessary debt.
Allegedly, some of the digital lenders have also been mentioned in unethical practices such as money laundering, as well as the illegal mining of customer private data. Others take an extra mile by shaming customers who do not repay loans in a timely manner.
According to Business Daily, CBK will leverage the law to determine the minimum liquidity and capital adequacy requirements for lenders.
Furthermore, the bill will see that the online lenders operate under the same rules as commercial banks. This will see the CBK certify their products and services, as well as the pricing of their loan charges.
Lenders will also have to have a physical local office.
It has taken the state a long time to regulate the online lending space, following cries from the public about the space and its abuses.
You can track the development of past attempts to regulate the space here.