The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has licensed Maisha Microfinance Bank Ltd (Maisha MFB) to carry out nationwide microfinance banking business.
Maisha MFB becomes the 13th microfinance bank, eight of which are permitted to operate nationwide.
This comes at a time when the industry regulator has frozen licensing of commercial banks in preparation for improved industry regulation after the recent collapse of banks.
“The licensing of Maisha Microfinance Bank Ltd will encourage innovation, competition and increased outreach which is in line with CBK’s mandate to enhance financial inclusion and promote economic growth in Kenya; the key tenets of Vision 2030,” said the CBK in a statement Monday.
Maisha MFB intends to commence operations in Nairobi with the objective of expanding across the country. It has set up its head office and branch at Chester House, Koinange Street, Nairobi.
“Maisha MFB will offer comprehensive Insurance Premium Financing (IPF) products as value-add alongside other Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) financing products. The MFB is looking to provide a one-stop financial services shop for MSMEs,” said the CBK.
Other institutions licensed to operate as microfinance banks in the country include Faulu Kenya MFB, Kenya Women MFB, SMEP MFB, Remu MFB, Rafiki MFB, Century MFB, Sumac MFB and Caritas MFB.
There are four community-based micro finance banks including Uwezo MFB, U&I MFB, Daraja MFB and Choice MFB. Micro finance banks specialise in banking services for low-income groups or individuals.
“It was further observed that the opportunity to offer insurance premium financing should and would be better achieved through an independent financial institution.
‘‘Through the proposed financial institution, a wider variety of services would be offered to meet demand from the growing number of micro, small and medium sized enterprises countrywide,” added the new micro finance bank.