On 30th November 2020, the Central Bank of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (‘the Bill’) was published in the Kenya Gazette and seeks to have the Central Bank of Kenya (‘CBK’) regulate providers of digital money lending services.
Contents of the Bill
The Bill describes digital money lenders as any entity that offers credit facilities in the form of mobile money lending applications. Should the Bill pass into law, such persons will be required to apply for and obtain an annual license from CBK. The Bill also grants CBK the power to impose on the license any conditions it considers fit. A list of all licensed digital lenders shall then be published in the Kenya Gazette.
Some notable features of the Bill include the requirement for a digital money lending institution to be managed by at least two Directors, one of whom must be a Kenyan citizen. Digital lenders are also required to expressly announce their interest rates in any advertisements they publish.
Implications of the Bill
The Bill aims to address the concerns of low income earning borrowers who apply for quick digital loans and end up paying exorbitant interest rates or being bound by unfair and unfavourable loan terms due to the lack of regulation of the digital money lending industry.
The Bill would also aid in curbing money laundering and terrorism financing as lenders would be required to disclose to the CBK the source of their funds.
The CBK may also impose restrictions on the misuse of borrowers’ information to pester relatives and friends of defaulters which has become common practice for some digital lenders.
The Bill sponsored by Hon. Gideon Keter is one among several previous efforts to regulate the business of the ever growing Kenyan digital credit market. It is now in the hands of our legislators to ensure consumer protection in digital lending.
For more details and professional advice on the information in this legal update, please do not hesitate to contact
Benson Ngugi (firstname.lastname@example.org) ,
Ken Rutere (email@example.com)
Martin Moturi (firstname.lastname@example.org)