15/03/2021 by Ochieng Oloo 0 Comments
MAISHA MFB: OFFERING CUSTOMER-DRIVEN PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The Principles for Responsible Banking, launched in 2019, were originally developed by UNEP and a core group of 30 banks from around the world to guide banks as they strive to align themselves with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The original signatories to these principles acknowledged that only in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources can their clients, customers and businesses thrive.
Although Maisha Microfinance Bank is not a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Banking, the bank however indirectly contributes to the objectives and targets set out in the SDGs as follows: -
Our strategy is aligned to address the needs and goals of individuals and society through offering customer/society-driven products and services. We for instance, have in place products that are suitably developed to help boost businesses and in turn assist to boost the customers’ incomes, support job creation, contribute to poverty alleviation as well as contribute to safety nets and reduce inequity.
- We endeavor to work responsibly with our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations. Our corporate tagline is “PROSPER WITH US”. This is what we seek to achieve with our customers
- To drive the bank’s outreach, we have adopted technology to help reach as many customers as possible in order to have a bigger and cost-effective impact
Being a new concept and also Maisha Microfinance Bank being a young institution, we are studying the concept with a view to determine which aspects of the principles we can customize to our situation.
Are you currently using the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors to measure your sustainability and the social impact of your business?
Being a nascent financial services player, we have not yet embedded ESG factors in our business approach initially. We hope to adjust our business model in the days ahead as the bank evolves
How far are you from fully implementing the Banking Sector Charter?
In line with the guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Kenya, Maisha Microfinance Bank Board and Management developed a customized banking charter with time-bound plans. The bank is 100% on schedule/target in implementation of the time bound plans. Some of the measures that have been deployed include deployment of a 24/7 customer care center to enhance customer complaints management and recourse mechanisms, expansion of mobile based lending and saving Product-M-Fanisi to other telco networks with an aim of reaching out to more unbanked and underbanked clientele in the society, enhanced credit scoring that allows customers to enjoy higher limits based on their loan repayment patterns. The bank in its business approach also promotes pricing transparency in its dealings with customers.
How have you responded to your customers banking needs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Due to the unprecedented occurrence of COVID 19 pandemic, some of our customers have had their incomes and/or cash flows adversely affected. We have consequently responded to various requests from customers to restructure loans and offered moratoriums on case-by-case basis to affected customers
Secondly, following the government’s directive to implement “STAY AT HOME” social distancing measures, the bank reached out to its customers advising them to transact remotely using the remote banking channels to avoid coming physically to the bank.
How would you describe your performance in 2019? (one word)
Where did growth come from if any?
In 2019, the bank recorded improved performance supported by, among others, the bank’s recapitalization, growth in deposits, efficiencies achieved through adoption of technology and implementation of cost controls especially loan impairment charges
Just to mention, during the year, the bank’s shareholders recapitalized the bank thus accelerating the bank’s balance sheet growth. The provision for loan impairment dropped from Kshs 60m in 2018 to Kshs 8.8 million in 2019. Deposits grew almost two-fold from Kshs 260 million in 2018 to Kshs 450 million 2019. The bank’s liquidity remained high closing 2019 at 30% liquidity
Overall, how do you rate the quality of your loan portfolio?
- Term loans- High quality
- Mobile loans- Medium
What is your average loan size and average loan repayment period?
- Term loans: kshs 500,000, 18 months
- Mobile loans: 5,000, 1 month
What is the distribution of your credit portfolio by sector, i.e. agriculture, manufacturing, construction, housing, trade and commerce etc.?
How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your performance so far and going forward?
It is not a business-as-usual setting for the banks. The bank, like any other locally and globally, has experienced a decline in the rate of loan repayments arising from effects of COVID 19 containment measures implemented. Further, in a response to customer requests, the bank(s) has/have offered moratoriums to customers on their loan repayments. In the short term, this is the experience banks will go through. We expect that when the COVID 19 situation improves and also following various government interventions, the economy will start regaining which in return improves customers’ business capacity to repay their loans. We have noted with the minimal measures put in place by the government, a number of affected customers are able to service their loans.
How would you describe the performance of your bank over the last 10 years?
Maisha Microfinance Bank is a nascent financial services player having been in operation for barely four years. The performance has been remarkable for the short period of operations as we have managed to expand our geographical outreach serving different parts of the country using technology
The bank has over the period in operation witnessed a remarkable growth in customer numbers (from zero customer base at initiation to about 400,000 now), the assets base has grown (to a high of Kshs 1.3 billion within 4 years), the bank has also invested in efficient business model (such as mobile banking and implementation of microfinance banking through the mobile, a unique proposition) and deployment of a lean cost business model
What does the year 2020 and the next 10 years portend for your bank?
Maisha Microfinance Bank aims to be a tier 1 microfinance bank in the next 10 years.
The interest rate capping that has had a major impact on the banking sector has finally been scrapped. What does that mean for your bank and the industry?
Just to clarify, microfinance banks are licensed under Microfinance Act 2006 and thus are not directly affected by the interest rate capping that was implemented on commercial banking sector (licensed under Banking Act Cap 488). The microfinance banking sector however subjects its products and related-pricing to regulatory approvals.
It is important to emphasize that the capping of interest rates is not a good approach as it denies lender the opportunity to price products according to customer risk profile. The even treatment of customers exacerbated by the introduction of IFRS9 accounting model compels the lenders to shy away from lending to customers whom they perceive as highly risky which is not a good thing for the growth of economy
How has the removal of the law affected your financial performance so far?
Not much impactful to the microfinance banking sector.
Any new investments or advancements in ICT at the bank?
Yes: the bank has invested heavily in ICT given its core business model depends heavily on ICT to provide customer-driven products and services. Some of the technological advancements include: -
- Mobile banking – the bank has deployed a savings and loans solution dubbed “MFANISI” which allows customers to remotely open ordinary savings accounts, open fixed deposit accounts and take micro loans on a 24/7 basis. This product is available to telco subscribers of both Airtel Money and MPESA respectively
- Enhancements on the bank’s mobile banking platform dubbed “M-DOH”. The bank has enhanced its mobile banking platform (M-DOH) to offer additional services to the customers. The customers who are enrolled on M-DOH are able to transfer funds from one account to another, pay for utility bills (KPLC, Nairobi Water, DSTV, ZUKU and many others), and purchase airtime, C2B and B2C transactions, among others
- Servers virtualization – This helps the bank to achieve data redundancy and availability using the latest software(s). With this deployment, our aim is to ensure that in case of a disaster, the bank services to customers should not be interrupted. Further, this deployment also helps to reduce on need to deploy multiple physical servers that would ordinarily require physical space.
Does your bank have a mobile money lending platform? What is the loan uptake from the platform and the overall quality of the loans taken?
Yes, Maisha Microfinance Bank has a mobile lending platform dubbed M-fanisi which is available to mobile money subscribers on both Airtel and Safaricom networks . The uptake on the platform is follows:
M-fanisi on Safaricom network: Rolled out the product in February 2020 and so far we have disbursed over Kshs 300M.
M-Fanisi on Airtel network: Rolled out in 2017 and we have disbursed over Kshs 1.5B.
How is Pesalink’s usage as compared to, EFT, RTGS and other funds transfer methods?
We are currently not connected to Pesalink until the bank joins the Kenya Bankers Association later in 2020
What is the growth trend in the adoption of online and mobile technology in your bank?
We have seen an immense growth in customer numbers and generally business growth through our mobile lending and savings platform.
Any changes on your business model?
None. We continue to embrace technology in our business model
How is the scrapping of interest rate cap going to affect your strategy?
Not much impact to our business strategy
What is your growth plan, where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
We aim to be a tier 1 microfinance bank in the next 5 years
How would you describe our macroeconomic environment currently (globally and locally)?
The macroeconomic environment has recently witnessed COVID 19 pandemic which has presented new unprecedented challenges to the banking sector locally and globally
What do you see as the biggest threats to Kenya’s banking sector?
Firstly, COVID 19 pandemic has presented a huge threat to the banking sector. Because of the pandemic and measures taken to contain the same, the banking sector is likely to be affected by escalating NPLs due to the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Cyber threats is also the other threat facing the banking sector especially during the COVID 19 situation – which requires banks to pay great attention to this.
What are the next growth drivers in Kenya’s banking sector and why do you think so?
One key growth driver will be adoption of technology. Many banks are increasingly appreciating adoption of technology to create efficiencies in their business models as well as to enable their responsiveness to respond to increasing customer demands
In above regard, we see a potential for banks using artificial intelligence, internet of things and big data to help create business efficiencies and growth.
Recent developments within the last one year
Rolled out a mobile loans and savings solution (MFANISI) on Safaricom Network in February 2020 which has increased the bank’s outreach to customers. Over 130,000 customers have subscribed and have access to the bank’s savings products and short term loans facilities.
List of Current Directors
- Dr. Beatrice Sabana- Chairperson
- Mr. Ireneus Gichana-Chief Executive Officer
- Hon. Jared B Kangwana- Non-Executive Director
- Mr. Kamal Shah- Non-Executive Director
- Mr. Nelson Bichanga- Non-Executive Director
- Prof. Alejandro Lago- Non-Executive Director
Auditors (As at 31st Dec 2019)