Kenya’s mobile lender Zenka Digital has partially written off 166 million shillings of past due interest across its loan portfolio, a move that will see its non-performing borrowers breathe a sigh of relief as the cost of living continues to bite.
The announcement comes amidst the Central Bank of Kenya’s credit repair framework that asked mobile lenders to give borrowers of non-performing loans at least a 50 percent discount as a way of motivating them to pay.
“As a socially responsible lender, we routinely and thoroughly analyze prevailing market situations and act proactively and pre-emptively to contribute to the country’s economic recovery by helping our customers regain their financial balance and grow,” said Zenka country manager Duncun Motanya.
The new Zenka approach is expected to significantly reduce the defaulters’ financial burden, thus facilitating them in taking steps toward regaining their financial balance. This will also boost the government’s efforts to help millions of Kenyans improve their credit score.
The partial write-off is the first of the company’s significant strategic initiatives aiming to support its customers, the majority of whom are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). With Kenya’s economy thriving on the wheels of MSMEs, the new move will see the majority of them channel the funds they would have used to pay off to boost their business.
Zenka will also give borrowers a three-day-grace period where no interest will be charged during the first three days past the due date and the grace period will be provided to all Zenka’s customers with no exemptions or additional costs.
“We’ve been promoting responsible lending since the very first day in the Kenyan market. Meticulous creditworthiness assessment combined with smart financial products and flexible repayment options enabled us to open up new possibilities to millions of Kenyans and motivate them to work harder and think smarter,” Motanya added.
The company strives to set and promote proper lending standards, thus reshaping the industry into one built on best practices in lending and consumer protection. To help customers with their loan settlement, Zenka offers them a flexible repayment program, bearing in mind that even the most deliberate customer may face unpredicted difficulties. Customers who can’t repay on the due date are encouraged to contact the lender and work out a solution that will satisfy both parties without the need for escalation.
‘’The highly challenging post-COVID period, resulting in massive loss of employment and closure of micro-enterprises, requires even more flexibility on the lending industry’s side,” Motanya said.