Maisha Microfinance Bank has partnered with Airtel Money and BlueSky Consultants to launch M-Fanisi – a savings and loan mobile money solution that offers registered Airtel Money subscribers a better, more affordable way to access cash while receiving the most competitive interest rates for money saved.
Maisha is the first telco-backed microfinance to roll out a mobile money savings and loan product in the market and the fourth financial institution in the market alongside heavy hitters such as CBA, KCB and Equity.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Habil Olaka, Chief Executive Officer Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), congratulated the bank in its role in developing the industry in an innovative manner and indeed being the first microfinance bank in Kenya to rollout a mobile savings and lending solution in partnership with Airtel Kenya and Blue sky consultants ltd.
“I note with delight the synergies created by the telcos in delivery of financial services apart from traditional voice and data services,” he said.
He added that despite a progressive economic growth of nearly 7% in Africa, according to a World Bank report, only 25% of the population has bank accounts an issue highly attributed to the fact that the mainstream banking remained out of reach for most of the African populace due to factors such as infrastructure, cost, and lack of financial literacy and compatible products. Those able to access mainstream banking services are also under-banked in most cases, accessing only basic services.
“The unbanked millions constitute an enormous potential for banks and microfinance banks. Notwithstanding the challenges, Africa’s most utilized technology, the mobile handset, is providing a platform to extend financial services further than previously envisioned as well as enhancing the savings culture of our population,” he added.
On the other hand Prasanta Das Sarma, Managing Director, Airtel Kenya said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Maisha Bank in the launch of M-Fanisi. Our joint efforts are geared towards empowering Kenyans by enhancing financial inclusion through the launch of M-Fanisi which is available to all our Airtel money customers and will allow them to not only get loans but to also invest and save.”
He added that through the partnership, Kenyans across the nation will enjoy great benefits through the easy access of finances through loans whilst inculcating a saving and investing culture.
“As such this partnership underscores this commitment and our vision of becoming Kenya’s most preferred mobile service provider. The future of financial inclusion amongst the public is through mobile money services and we are glad to be part of the team that is revolutionizing this landscape with innovative value offerings and strategic partnerships,” added Mr Sarma.
Explaining how the product works Maisha Microfinance Bank CEO Mr. Ireneus Gichana said, “Maisha promises to make finances accessible to all by launching a host of innovative banking solutions for our customers, created around our customers’ needs and embracing technological advances. The product we are launching today, M-Fanisi, is testament to our commitment to this promise and is true to the importance that we place on understanding what our customers need.”
In a 45-day pilot period, during which Maisha Microfinance in partnership with Airtel Money and Blue Sky Consultants, tested the system, the platform made great strides. To date the bank has opened over 50,000 new accounts through M-Fanisi and over 20,000 of these have accessed loan facilities through Mfanisi. The product has also seen up to 2000 loan applications made on a daily basis through the platform.
Much of the credit given to the uptake of M-Fanisi so far can be attributed to the attractive product offerings that make up M-Fanisi. These are specifically:
- Access loans repayable within 7 days, 14 days and 30 days at attractive one-off facility fees of 3%, 5% and 7.5% respectively with excise duty applicable on the fees.
- Open a fixed deposit account for a period of 1 to 12 months and earn attractive interest of between 8.50% p.a. to 11.25% p.a. depending on period.
- Open a savings account and earn interest of 7% p.a.
- Transfer money in and out of the M-Fanisi to Airtel Money for FREE.