Mobile lender Branch courts Kenya’s formal wage workers

By Mugambi mutegi | Business Daily, Kenya September 27, 2017

Branch, a Facebook-linked mobile phone lending app, is targeting salaried customers with promises to increase their loan limits once they provide proof of employment.

The micro lender has been inviting borrowers interested in having their loan limits increased to submit their pay slips, bank or M-Pesa statements for verification.

Branch, a Silicon Valley start-up, early this month announced that it had raised Sh200 million by issuing a commercial paper to fund its loan book.

“If you are formally employed, you may qualify to upgrade your Branch loan limit to Sh15,000 straight away,” Branch said in an email to customers.

Sofia Zab, Branch’s marketing director, told the Business Daily that the offer is still in the “very early stages of validation,” adding that only a few active borrowers have been selected to participate in the “trial”.

Branch said it has disbursed Sh4 billion via mobile money platform M-Pesa since its Kenya launch in April 2015.

The micro lender said it lends out Sh400 million every month to its 350,000 customers, with loans capped at Sh50,000, and repayable between one to 12 months.

The interest rates range from 13.6 per cent per month and can drop to 1.2 per cent as a borrower builds a credit history.

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