By Donald Kogai

Kenya Commercial Bank and Safaricom

committed to support customers in financial

distress, making available more affordable

lending and cutting transaction costs on mobile

as part of the measures to assist as the country

grapples with the effects of the Coronavirus


The announcement—which follows a meeting

hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi

on Wednesday, bringing together banking

industry players— will see KCB Bank set aside

KShs. 30 billion in a stimulus fund for onward

lending to KCB M-PESA customers during the

next 90 days.

The fund will allow for higher borrowing limits

for qualifying customers and extended

repayment periods for borrowers with existing


Other relief measures available to individual

customers, and small business owners will

include renegotiations of the loan contracts to

either allow repayment moratoriums, or

extending the repayment periods up to one year.

The Bank will foot the legal costs associated

with the loan restructuring.

“We stand with Kenyans and all our customers

at this time as our country and the world

grapples with the pandemic.

Our firm priority remains ensuring that our

employees, customers, business partners and

the entire population remains safe and free

from the virus,” said KCB Group CEO and MD

Joshua Oigara.

“We have a role to continue supporting the

economy and stimulating growth.

The best remedy as our economy starts to slow

down is to support our customers to get along

with their lives, and to protect jobs by providing

additional lending.

We have been in crises before, but if we pull

together, even in this environment, we will get

the solutions Kenya needs” he added.

The bank and Safaricom will also open the door

to customers who had been blacklisted at the

Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) but have

since cleared their facility.

“We shall open credit limits to those customers

who had been listed because of defaulting on

small amounts, but who are now repaying their


Customers who need relief are advised to get in

touch with us to work out the respective

support areas,” said Mr. Oigara.

KCB has more than 22 million customers who

borrowed KShs.212 billion in 2019 on its KCB-

MPESA mobile lending platform which is

operated in partnership with Safaricom .

These measures are additional to the zero-

rating of bank to mobile and mobile to bank

transactions in order to increase the usage of

digital channels as opposed to cash in order to

reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

“Our goal remains ensuring that our customers

and our nation comes out of this storm strong

together to continue the work of nation building.

This is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder,

to ensure that no one is left behind when this is

all over,” said Mr. Oigara.

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