Lender Equity Bank Kenya has announced a partnership with NALA Payments Limited.
NALA is a remittance payment processing platform licensed in the UK and United States, and it facilitates diaspora remittances into Kenya.
According to a statement from Equity, the collaboration will allow Kenyans living in the United Kingdom and the United States to send money directly from their banks, through the NALA app, and to Equity Bank Kenya accounts and other mobile wallets.
Equity Bank Kenya will offer integrated financial services to their clients and by engaging NALA as its technology partner, the lender seeks to up its position in remittances by giving its customers access to faster services by taking advantage of the growing popularity of digital channels.
Furthermore, it also allows NALA to serve its users in the United States and the United Kingdom who would like to save and invest in the Kenyan economy through financial infrastructure.
Equity grew the volume of diaspora remittance. It jumped by 39 percent in 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2020, leveraging on the growing popularity of digital channels for sending money home from abroad.
Equity says it handled KES 383.5 billion in remittances in the 12 months to December, up from Sh279.4 billion in 2021.
NALA is also opening a new office in Nairobi, to host a third of the company’s staff.
While NALA operates with a globally remote workforce, operational components like partnerships and customer support will be grounded in the Nairobi Headquarters under the leadership of NALA COO Nicolai Eddy.
Despite the array of options for sending money to Africa from abroad, the continent continues to be the most expensive place to send money.
The World Bank estimates average transfer fees to Africa at ~9%.
Further, many of the existing options include hidden fees that make it hard to discern the true cost of sending money.
In 2021, the two entities inked a similar deal in Tanzania.
NALA CEO Benjamin Fernandes commented, “NALA’s mission is to increase economic opportunities globally, and partnering with Equity Bank is a foundational step for us. Combining NALA’s technology with Equity Bank’s reach allows us to build a stronger financial infrastructure for Kenyans worldwide. Payments in Africa are 1% built, and technology enables us to make strides towards integrating the financial tools for advancement.”
Robert Kiboti, Equity Head of Private Banking who spoke on behalf of Equity Bank Kenya’s Managing Director Gerald Warui said that this partnership cements the position of the bank as the leading bank supporting Kenyans in the diaspora to send money to their loved ones as well as for investments. He added that the bank is delighted to work together with NALA to bridge the access gap.
He attributed this linkage as one that will help widen the geographical reach in the remittances segment. “Equity will continue to build linkages with like-minded partners such as NALA to ensure that all its members have access to seamless and most competitive remittance services. Using fintech capabilities has given us a global presence, and as a result, we have become a major processor of remittances payments around the world including across currencies,” he said.