Microfinance institutions in Kenya play a major role in the economy since they provide small loans to middle and low-income citizens and businesses which are the foundation of the country.
Consequently, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are numerous microfinance institutions established to serve both the general market and specific niche groups.
This comes although Kenya is overbanked with a per capita bank per person of a million customers per bank. To some extent, it makes sense considering the free market economy and the high unemployment rates which results in high demand for loans to start or keep small businesses afloat.
Nonetheless, this phenomenon results to the lack of a clear hold by the authorities of the numerous range of highly differentiated banks and finance companies making the country a haven for money laundering by politicians and elite business persons.
Microfinance began sprouting in the mid-90s with great momentum in a bid to meet the market demand for their services by customers who couldn’t access bank loans. By 2010, they had stamped authority in the finance sector and were a major threat to conventional banks. But this reign was about to come to an end.
These institutions were characteristic of using harsh methods to recover their loans from customers. The companies would hire ruthless debt collectors who would visit the homes of defaulters and wreak havoc in the name of recovering their client’s money.
At some point, citizens lived in fear for their lives and others were on the run. Then came mobile lenders. Their only requirements for a loan; a substantial M-Pesa record and ID card.
This made loans much more accessible and easier for most Kenyans. Also, the worst a mobile lender could do to a defaulter is bombarded them with messages and report them to the Credit Reference Bureau as compared to getting a visit from debt collecting goons.
So Kenyans began to shift in numbers and soon microfinance institutions felt the pinch. Within half a decade the fintech almost obliterated the microfinance industry with most institutions recording loses year after year.
Today, microfinance banks still exist but their influence is not felt as much as it was before. Innovation is ruthless and only those businesses willing to adapt to change will stay afloat.
The Central Bank of Kenya has licensed only 13 microfinance banks in the country but as evident from the Association of Microfinance Institutions Kenya (AMFI-Kenya), there might be more currently operating. To remain relevant, each has adopted the niche approach; catering only to a specific group of people.
Licensed Microfinance Institutions in Kenya
1. Caritas Microfinance Bank Limited
Caritas is a multifaceted finance institution offering numerous products that span across business, education, personal loans and insurance. With a mission of providing convenient and innovative financial solutions while growing shareholders value, the company has grown its customer base and gained a good reputation despite having only one branch.
- CEO: Mr George Mugwe Maina
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 15352 – 00100, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 5151500
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.caritas-mfb.co.ke
- Physical Address: Cardinal Maurice Otunga Plaza, Ground Floor, Kaunda Street, Nairobi.
2. Century Microfinance Bank Limited
Century is a microfinance institution which specializes in providing financial services which include savings and credit facilities to small and medium enterprises.
At the core of its business model is the value chain financing approach which involves activities that promote the addition of value to its products to cater to specific industry needs.
With over 25,000 clients, the microfinance bank which currently has two branches is slowly but steadily transforming the economy with impactful services.
- CEO: Mr Reuben Mwangi
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 38319 – 00623, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 2664282, 0722 – 168721, 0756 – 305132
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.century.co.ke
- Physical Address: K.K. Plaza, 1st Floor, New Pumwani Road – Gikomba, Nairobi
3. Choice Microfinance Bank Limited
Choice is one of the youngest microfinance institutions in Kenya having been founded and immediately licensed by the CBK in May 2015. Its origin traces back to the 1990s when many Kenyans migrated to the USA to seek opportunities.
Upon successfully securing better livelihoods, some of the immigrants found the need to invest back to their countries and create similar opportunities for Kenyans.
Currently, Choice Microfinance is a top choice for many small and medium enterprises seeking financial services on a personal level which improves their success rates.
- CEO: Ms. Lydiah Maina
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 18263 – 00100, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 3882206 / 207, 0736 – 662218, 0724 – 308000
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.choicemfb.com
- Physical Address: Siron Place, Ongata Rongai, Magadi Road, Nairobi
4. Daraja Microfinance Bank Limited
Daraja prides itself as an institution which exercises high levels of professionalism and integrity in its vision of transforming businesses and lives. The microfinance bank, headquartered at Nairobi is founded on a business model which prioritizes value-driven and customer-focused solutions.
Among its most popular services include fixed deposit accounts, asset financing, transactions enhanced accounts and Chama accounts. Its goal is to serve customers regardless of individual roles and functions while applying the same ethos with its shareholders and partners.
- CEO: Mr. Githuku Mwangi
- Postal Address: P.O. Box 100854 – 00101, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 3879995 / 0733 – 988888, 0707 – 444888, 0718 – 444888
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.darajabank.co.ke
- Physical Address: Karandini Road, off Naivasha Road, Nairobi
5. Faulu Microfinance Bank Limited
Faulu is a household name. Founded in 1991, Faulu Microfinance Bank is one of the earliest institutions of its kind and perhaps the biggest in terms of revenue and assets as of today.
The micro-bank has 39 branches in the country; one in every major town and commands a huge customer base in the small and medium enterprises loans sector surpassed only by KWFT and Equity Bank (which was originally a microfinance institution).
Its products are multidimensional and cover niche-markets in the most demanded sectors. They include: personal and business accounts, retail loans, SMEs loans, agricultural loans, and insurance services for moto vehicle, agriculture, medical and life cover.
- Managing Director: Mr Apollo Njoroge
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 60240 – 00200, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 3877290/3/7; 3872183/4; 3867503, 0711 – 074074, 0708 -111000
- Fax: +254-20-3867504, 3874875
- E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Website: www.faulukenya.com
- Physical Address: Faulu Kenya House, Ngong Lane, Off Ngong Road
6. Kenya Women Microfinance Bank Limited
Another behemoth and a household name in the banking industry is the KWFT, Kenya Women Finance Trust which has a record of 250 branches across every major town in the country and numerous small towns.
The institution was originally referred to as Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, established in 1981 and currently considered the biggest fully-microfinance bank in the country.
The bank was established with the mission of exclusively addressing the financial and non-financial needs of women in the country but with time has evolved to include products that service everybody including children and men. It currently boasts of close to a million active clients.
- Managing Director: Mr James Mwangi Githaiga
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 4179-00506, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 3067000, 2470272-5/2715334-5, 0729920920, 0732633332,
- 0703 – 067000
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.kwftdtm.com
- Physical Address: Akira House, Kiambere Road, Upper Hill, Nairobi
7. Rafiki Microfinance Bank Limited
Rafiki Microfinance proud itself as the third-largest company in the industry having expanded to over 10 counties in the country with over 20 branches and 150,000 plus active clients.
The relationship microfinance, as it calls itself focuses on bridging the gap between small enterprises and medium/large enterprises, a group they call the missing middle.
Among its popular services include; savings facilities, credit, money transfer services, trade finance, forex and banc-assurance services. It employs internet banking, mobile banking and ATM banking besides its branches to reach out to as many customers as possible.
- Managing Director: Mr Ken Obimbo
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 12755 – 00400, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254-020-2166401/0730 170 000/500
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.rafiki.co.ke
- Physical Address: Rafiki House, Biashara Street, Nairobi
8. KEY Microfinance Bank Limited
Earlier in 2019, Remu Microfinance rebranded to KEY Microfinance in a bid to shade off its regional outlook and position itself as a fully-fledged microfinance bank with a national outlook.
The institution which offers both banking services and credit services is on a mission to unlock opportunities for financial growth and prosperity while providing rewarding financial services to its niche markets.
Some of its products include; Savings, Current and Investment Account, ME Financing, Asset Finance, Trade Finance and personal loans.
- CEO and MD: Mr Gregory Siro
- Postal Address: P.O. Box 20833 – 00100, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 2214483/2215384/ 2215387/8/9, 2631070, 2215380, 2215384/5/7/8/9, 0733-554555
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.remultd.co.ke
- Physical Address: Finance House, 14th Floor, Loita Street, Nairobi
9. SMEP Microfinance Bank Limited
The roots of SMEP microfinance trace back to 1975 when it started as a relief arm of the National Council of Churches in Kenya. By the end of the 20th century, it was registered as a company but it wasn’t until 2008 when transformed into a full-fledged microfinance institution. Two years later, it acquired CBK license.
SMEP focuses on group microfinance banking, small-medium enterprise banking and church banking. Its mission is to be a dynamic Christian provider of financial solutions in a bid to transform lives.
- CEO: Mr Symon Kamore
- Postal Address: P.O. Box 64063 – 00620, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 3572799/2055761, 2673327/8, 0711606900
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.smep.co.ke
- Physical Address: SMEP Building – Kirichwa Road, Off Argwings Kodhek Road, Nairobi
10. Sumac Microfinance Bank Limited
Sumac was started in 2004 by a group of retrenched investors who needed redemption and a secure financial future. The inspiriting story of how the team (with as little as Ksh 500,000) joined hands and launched the microfinance institution is covered by this interview of the Chairman.
Today it is a recognized bank which has won several accolades and cemented its reputation in the finance industry. Besides many types of loan services, it offers mobile banking, forex, insurance, bonds and trade finances.
- CEO: Mr John Kamau Njihia
- Postal Address: P. O. Box 11687 – 00100, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 2212587, 2210440, 2249047, 0738637245, 0725223499
- Fax: 20 2210430
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.sumacmicrofinancebank.co.ke
- Physical Address: Consolidated Bank House, 2nd Floor, Koinange Street, Nairobi
11. U&I Microfinance Bank Limited
Established in 2007, U&I microfinance is an institution that provides financial services to community members in Kenya with a major focus in both SMEs and large enterprises. Its services are aimed at providing working capital, facilitating technological improvements and business innovations.
Since licensing in 2016 as a deposit-taking microfinance institution, it has grown from community-based microfinance to national outlook finance while accumulating several awards such as the Think Business Awards in 2016. Its flagship product Fasta Fasta loan is very popular among Kenyans in urban centres.
- CEO: Mr Simon Mwangi Ngigi
- Postal Address: 15825 – 00100, Nairobi
- Telephone: +254 – 020 – 2367288, 0713 – 112791
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.uni-microfinance.co.ke
- Physical Address: Asili Complex, 1st Floor, River Road, Nairobi
12. Uwezo Microfinance Bank Ltd
Uwezo MFB is an institution that specializes in providing financial services to micro, small and medium-sized companies around the country. With an active customer base of 30,000, the bank is arguably doing very well in ensuring financial inclusivity among community members.
It utilizes both mobile banking services and branch network to provide value for Kenyans and better their livelihoods. Services include personal loans, savings and deposit accounts, Chama accounts, logbook loans and SME loans.
- CEO: Mrs. Ellen Ethangatta.
- Postal Address: 1654 – 00100, Nairobi
- Telephone: 2212919, 0703591302
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.uwezodtm.com
- Physical Address: Rehani House, 11th Floor, Koinange Street, Nairobi
13. Maisha Microfinance Bank Limited
First Microfinance Bank To Roll Out A Telco-Backed Mobile Savings and Loan Product, 3rd Fastest-Growing Microfinance Bank at Think Business Banking Awards, 2018 and the best Microfinance Bank in Product Innovation at the Think Business Banking Awards, 2019.
These are just a few of the accolades Maisha Microfinance has won lately and as its innovative products continue to attract new customer, the company is bound to grow. Maisha offers personal loans, business loans, savings and deposits accounts, overdraft services and trade financing.
- CEO: Mr Ireneus Gichana
- Postal Address: P.O. Box 49316 -00100 GPO Nairobi
- Telephone: 0792 002 300/020 2220648
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.maishabank.com
- Physical Address: 2nd Floor, Chester House-Commercial Wing, Koinange Street, Nairobi
Credit-Only Microfinance Banks
Besides the Microfinance institutions above there exist numerous others which may not be licensed by the CBK but offer microfinance services and members of the Association of Micro-Finance Institutions in Kenya. Most of these are credit only microfinance institutions based in Kenya or as branches of international banks.
- Hand to Hand Eastern Africa. Website: www.handinhand-ea.org
- BIMAS Kenya Limited. Website: www.bimaskenya.com
- SEEP – Social Economic Empowerment Program. Website: www.seepnetwork.org
- Musoni Microfinance. Website: www.musoni.co.ke
- Yehu Microfinance Limited. Website: www.yehu.org
- Ushindi Bora. Website: www.ushindibora.com
- Swiss Contact. Website: www.swisscontact.org
- FinCredit Limited. Website: www.fincredit.co.ke
- ECLOF Kenya. Website: www.eclof-kenya.org
- Premier Credit Limited. Website: www.premierkenya.co.ke
- OIKO Credit. Website: www.oikocredit.coop/en
- Neema HEEP. Website: www.neemaheep.org
- MESPT – Micro Enterprises Support Program Trust. Website: www.mespt.org
- Longitude Finance. Website: www.longitudefinance.co.ke
- Juhudi Kilimo Company Limited. Website: www.juhudikilimo.com
- Jitegemea Credit Scheme. Website: www.jitegemea.co.ke
- AFRACA – African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association. Website: www.afraca.org
Although mobile lenders have diverted a huge chunk of low and middle-income borrowers and businesses from microfinance institutions in Kenya, there is still room for growth. But to do so, microfinance banks have to adopt innovative solutions or join the bandwagon and remain relevant.