Mobile and personal financing application, Branch, has officially begun operations in the banking sector after it acquired a 84.89 per cent stake of Century Microfinance Bank Limited.

In a statement seen by and dated Tuesday, February 8, the digital lender was given approval by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in line with the Microfinance Act. 

The sale represents the first buy-out of a banking institution by a digital lender in the country. 

Undated Photo of the Central Bank of Kenya in Nairobi

A file image of the Central Bank of Kenya in Nairobi.FILEBUSINESS DAILY

“This follows CBK’s approval under Section 19 (4) of the Microfinance Act and approval by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning on January 7, 2022, pursuant to Section 19 (3)(b) of the Microfinance Act.

CBK welcomes this transaction that is a critical component of Century MFB’s transformation plan. It will strengthen Century MFB and support the stability of the microfinance banking sector,” read the statement in part.

The approval comes after the National Treasury exempted Branch from a law limiting an individual from holding more than 25 per cent stake in any microfinance institution. 

This follows a Gazette Notice signed by CS Yatani that approved the digital lending app from Section 19 of the Microfinance Act. The exemption will be upheld for four years until 2025.

Century MFB was licensed by CBK in September 2012, and has been in operation since. The local bank has two branches; one along Moi Avenue and the other in Gikomba.

CBK, in the statement, lauded the bank for its initiatives in the technology sector and microfinance sector.

“Since the first MFB became operational in 2009, the Kenyan financial sector landscape has transformed significantly. 

“This has been underpinned by advances in technology, innovation and customers drive towards Anytime Anywhere services,” read part of the statement.


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