A Standard Chartered Bank Kenya outlet in Nairobi. The bank is counting on continued investment in digital channels to drive profitability amid the pandemic. [Photo/ File]
A Standard Chartered Bank Kenya outlet in Nairobi. The bank is counting on continued investment in digital channels to drive profitability amid the pandemic. [Photo/ File]

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya is set to compete with major players in the digital lending space including Kenya Commercial Bank (Kenya Commercial Bank), NCBA, Absa Kenya and Equity Bank after venturing into mobile loans.

The bank has received the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) greenlight to operate as a digital micro-lender and plans to roll out a new mobile loan app. The app will bolster the bank’s digital capabilities following the unveiling of the SC Mobile app in 2019 with enhanced features for retail customers – including the ability to open an account and transact without visiting a branch.

Unlike platforms such as NCBA-backed M-Shwari or KCB M-Pesa, Standard Chartered is pursuing a notably different strategy with its mobile credit facility – with less focus on mass-market penetration.

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The bank plans on introducing a range of digital banking services within the app to complement the low-value mobile credit offering, as was revealed by Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari. It is expected to drive further growth, coming on the back of a strong performance in Q1 2021.

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari noted that their digital loan offering would offer more than traditional micro-lending services eyeing the mass market.
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari noted that their digital loan offering would offer more than traditional micro-lending services eyeing the mass market.

“It is not just about the traditional digital lending, but why can’t we be able to do everything digitally like apply for credit card and get a response or apply for a personal loan,” Ngari told Business Daily.

During StanChart Kenya’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 27, Ngari highlighted that the bank’s wealth management business had grown by 90%, proving to be an important revenue stream as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted business and economies.

“Our Wealth Management business grew 90% and we have a wide array of solutions tailored for different clients.”

“All our value propositions e.g Wealth Management, Straight 2 Bank, etc have grown in terms of client uptake while in the middle of the pandemic. This is testament to the quality value the Bank brings within this market,” he stated.

At the same time, he noted that the bank had prioritized continued development in innovation around digital channels.

“Our continued investment in digital channels continues to play a role in driving profitability for the bank,” Ngari disclosed.

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