The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Huawei plan to officially launch Vooma, a loan product.
Vooma is a payments and settlements platform and is expected to launch this month (March). KCB stopped it’s previous Mobiloan product on December 23rd 2020 and replaced it with Vooma. Vooma has been on a test run since then in preparation for its launch.
“The platform is owned as a revenue share between us and Huawei. KCB will look at others like Google or Apple coming in, when they are here,” Joshua Oigara, KCB Chief Executive.
According to Oigara, forming a relationship with customers is more important than fighting with tech firms. He emphasized that only banks that form partnerships with tech firms early succeed.
KCB’s target for digital payments
Numbers show that Kenya as a country has about 7 million small businesses. However, only about 250,000 of those use digital payment platforms in their transactions.
The Kenya Commercial Bank however plans to increase the numbers to about 1 million by the end of this year. Huawei will provide the digital infrastructure harboring Vooma as KCB brings the digital services to clients.
Even as some banks in Africa embrace global tech firms, others are fighting it. Many executives in Kenya’s banking sector feel that this will drain African banks that still rely heavily on physical branches to reach their customers.
On the other hand, analysts in the banking industry believe that there will be more linkages between mobile money and e-commerce.
This threat is mainly based on the financial capabilities of the tech firms in addition to the fact that these firms do not need banking licenses and are not regulated locally.
Oigara, KCB’s Chief executive says that KCB as a lender is more prepared for Vooma. This is when compared to KCB’s partnership with Safaricom for the KCB-Mpesa platform and Fuliza.
Covid-19 and digital financing
The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought along an evolution in digital financing. As a result, banks have partnered with telcos to provide their customers with digital payment platforms.
There has been a noted rise in KCB’s digital transactions since March 2020 marking a four times increase.
“I think KCB has survived the pandemic by migrating its transactions to the digital channels where it already had a competitive edge”, said Oigara.
According to Oigara, Kenya marks a 95% in cash transactions. However, KCB wants to reduce the 95% to 20-30%.
Sourced from The Africa Report Magazine.