Central Bank of Kenya has given the greenlight to Choice Microfinance Bank, the first ever financial institution that solely targets the diaspora in a bid to get funds for the empowerment of marginalised communities.
Choice Microfinance said it will capitalise on business opportunities within the marginalised communities and proceeds from the siaspora to change lives.
Speaking when it was issued with a letter of intent by the regulator, the bank said it would especially target slum dwellers with the aim to create business opportunities while increasing its sustainable revenue.
“We refer to your application for a licence to carry out community based micro finance banking business in Kenya as Choice Microfinance Bank Ltd,” said Mr Matu Mugo, CBK’s assistant director of bank supervision.
Through research and innovations, Choice Microfinance bank expects to create a platform where products will be created and tailored to suit the demands of both the diaspora and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within the marginalised communities.
Its chairman, Mr Ben Kamiri, said the finance institution would work closely with all stakeholders to capitalise on business opportunities. “We have a lot of businesses and emerging business opportunities in the marginalised areas. We also have people in the diaspora with enough funds that are willing to invest back home and they don’t have places to invest,” said Mr Kamiri. “We want to merge the two scenarios to make an ample change to our society.”
With eight directors, Mr Kamiri said the new banking entity was created by Kenyans in America (KIA) which is interested in bringing investments back home to the country. It currently has operations both in North America and Kenya.
“We have many statistics from government agencies, civil societies and organisations operating in these areas,” said Mr Kamiri. “But we are also looking at doing more research in these regions so that we can narrow down to urgent areas of investments. We already have the unbanked people doing multiple businesses. We are also looking at working together with the authorities, civil society and the SMEs to break the circles of poverty where we can attract good local professional investments,” said Mr Kamiri.
The CBK has estimated that more than Sh70 billion is remitted to the country by Kenyans living in the diaspora and the amount increases every year.
One of the key planks to development is access to affordable credit for the poor and the SMEs who are main engine of growth and job creation in Kenya.
Micofinance Bank presents an ideal opportunity for investment by the Kenyan diaspora with the twin goal of doing business and empowering people in Kenya.
Mr Kamiri said that the bank aims to facilitate the fulfilment of customer aspirations and dreams by providing relevant, long-term profitable customer relationships and innovative financial services.