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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyan firm launches mobile-based loans and savings product

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan microfinance company on Tuesday officially launched the first mobile-based loans and savings product.

Maisha Microfinance Bank, in conjunction with Airtel Money, a mobile money transfer service owned by telecom operator Airtel, launched the new mobile money solution that will enable customers to access loans in less than two minutes.

“Since we rolled out the product, over 50,000 new accounts have been opened in the last one and a half weeks, out of which over 20,000 clients have accessed loans,” Maisha Microfinance Bank CEO Ireneus Gichana said during the launch in Nairobi.

The product, named M-Fanisi, offers cash transfer from Airtel Money to clients’ account upon making a loan request and reverse of the same upon repayment.

There are 24 large microfinance institutions in Kenya that provide approximately 1.5 million U.S. dollars worth of loans to over 1.5 million active borrowers under different interest rates, duration and amounts.

Gichana said her bank receives over 2,000 applications daily from people seeking to access loans.

Kenya has one of the highest financial inclusions in Africa, where the gap among unbankable members of the population has narrowed from 20 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2016.

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