In the past five years, mobile financial services have gone from “likely” to “bound to happen” to “now commercially accessible.” In 2015, Branch disbursed its first loan in Kenya. In 2019, the fintech has shown significant growth by paying out more than 11 million loans in 5 countries. With many business people leaning towards mobile loans for working capital, this financial services app is demonstrating its significance in the market by adapting to the entrepreneur journey.
Kenyans are taking the important step to shift financial transactions from cash to digital. Despite having a limited banking history, they are using Branch to build credit at the convenience of their smartphones. Many Kenyan small business owners have frequently been turned down by banks when seeking for small loans for several reasons. These include being in business for a short period and having no credit history. The FinTech is disrupting the financial services space by replacing traditional underwriting processes with a proprietary machine learning algorithm that makes lending decisions. “The process takes a few minutes to complete, and does not require any form of paperwork or collateral.” says Dan Karuga, Branch GM East Africa.
While more than two-thirds of the adult population in Africa has access to banking and mobile money accounts, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked. With the increasing demand for credit in Kenya, business people are seeking loans that are flexible and that adjust to the unpredictable nature of their businesses. Branch has responded to this by offering customers the choice to pay back in either weekly or monthly instalments. With a transparent loan breakdown that is easy to understand, the app has prioritized user experience. The whole loan amount is clearly displayed – showing the user that they do not pay for registration fees, late fees or hidden charges that many business people have previously had to incur.
Throughout the lifecycle of a business, entrepreneurs look for a consistent credit solution to rely on and grow with. Branch customers enjoy the benefits of a long-term partnership because as they take and repay loans, they gain access to higher loan amounts, lower interest rates, and longer repayment schedules.
With interest rates that vary ranging from 1.2% to 13.5% depending on the loan amount, loan repayment terms can range from 4 weeks to 12 months. The interest rates decrease as a customer continues to grow their loan limit. This presents customers the opportunity to get access to higher loan limits at the lowest interest rates in the market.
Businesses are becoming more vigilant and concerned about the personal data that they share. In the Middle East and Africa, the share of people feeling “more concerned” surged from 55% in 2017 to 61% in 2018. With this in mind, Branch has strict policies in place that ensure customer data is always protected. Using world-class data security, the app encrypts and protects all its data and does not share user data with third parties.
As new innovations advance, the fintech industry in Kenya is being reshaped by expanding customer expectations for convenience and personalization. Business people want personalization, quick response, relevance and seamless delivery. Branch continues to meet these expectations with agility and an improved customer journey by providing flexible and longer repayment periods, charging no registration or rollover fees, and guaranteeing user data security.