Micro-lender to disburse loans in six hours

Micro-finance institutions in Kenya are stepping up efforts to entice new customers by reducing loan approval process, which normally takes two weeks.

Consequently, a tripartite partnership between Micro-finance firm Real People, HP and Orange Telkom – Kenya, will now see Real People customers receive their loans in a record six hours.

This has been made possible through acquisition of a KES 100mn computer aided application where loan application and disbursement process will be done on an on-line platform.

Under the arrangement, Real People will use Hewlett Packard (HP) tablets to capture loan application details of borrowers, while Orange Telkom – Kenya will provide internet connectivity for capturing data.

“The launch is in line with the company’s focus to improve customer experience and becoming the most preferred micro-finance institution in the region,” said Real People Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Ohonde.

Mr. Ohonde said through the innovative platform, borrowers will be able to check loan balances and track loan application processes via SMS.

The HP Kenya managing director, Charles Kuria said is the first time a tablet is being deployed on a large scale by an organisation in Africa.”

“All our relationship officers, will be issued with the customized tablets, which they will use to capture data and upload all necessary documents to begin the approval process” said Mr. Ohonde.

Kenya is ranked among African countries enjoying a buoyant micro-finance sector, credited for fueling a fast expanding middle class that is embracing technology.

Telecommunication companies have taken the cue and are coming up with products to satisfy this desire.

Orange Telkom – Kenya Chief Business Market Officer, Mireille Helou hailed the partnership, saying it was in line with their long term strategy to facilitation and provide quality Internet connectivity and Internet related solutions to power an online economy.

“The business has undertaken a wider transformative exercise that now allows us to introduce solutions that will enhance customer satisfaction and better support their businesses. We also see these new solutions being a boon to a myriad of organisations and institutions as well as start ups,” said Ms. Helou.

The enhanced loan processing platform will compliment other existing products such as ‘Real Flexi Loan’ where customers have the liberty to access loan amounts to their preference, staggered in bits according to the needs of the customer.

Real People is currently the largest micro finance institution in Kenya, in terms of the loan book with a small and micro enterprise client database of 15,000 and loan disbursements of up to KES 6bn. The company recently embarked on an aggressive expansion plan in East Africa and has so far set up 10 branches and seven desk offices in Kenya.