NAIROBI, Kenya


Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom Ltd have introduced a fixed deposit feature on the globally acclaimed M-Shwari platform. The Lock Savings Account, the first of its kind in the mobile money space, will help low-income earners to save for specific purposes.

The move is aimed at entrenching a savings culture in a country where savings fall below 20% of the GDP, the lowest in the region. To access the Lock Savings Account feature, customers will need to dial *234*6# and follow the prompt. The revolutionary service will allow customers to save a minimum of Sh500 for a maximum of six months at interest rates of upto 6% p.a.

“We introduced this new feature on the strength of recurrent customer feedback which suggested that we introduce a facility which would inherently instill in them the discipline required to make medium term savings towards a specific goal,” said Jeremy Ngunze, CBA Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer.

M-Shwari service was launched at the end of 2012 as a micro-savings and lending facility to bring more Kenyans into the formal financial services. M-Shwari has seen CBA’s loan accounts grow by more than 800% from 89,000 in 2012 to 897,000 in December last year making the bank the country’s top retail lender. M-Shwari has over 7 million customers who have in the last two  years saved more than Sh156 billion and taken out loans worth Sh13 billion.

“M-Shwari has been credited with growing to 67%, the segment of the country’s bankable population that has access to a bank account,” said Ms. Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Safaricom’s of general manager for Financial Services. A replica service launched in Tanzania by CBA and Vodacom dubbed M-Pawa, has registered 250,000 customers in the three weeks.

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