I recently met Mitch, the guy responsible for afb in Kenya, the new entrant into the Kenyan money lending space. Mitch is a rather nice guy who sports a cool Irish accent. afb is a consumer finance company with its head-office in Mauritius and with operations in West Africa in Ghana where they run a loans-business which is separate from an insurance business which they also run, in Lusaka and in Cape Town, South Africa as well. They have just opened offices in Nairobi along Mombasa Road and have reportedly pumped in 250 million bob capital investment just for lending.
What do they want to do?They want to give you money. Simple. The afb CEO, Karl Westvig, is a the co-founder of the well-known consumer finance business RCS Group (1999). He was the CEO there until December 2008 and is credited with the growth of the RCS Group to 800 staff, 600 000 customers and a product suite including direct personal loans, general-purpose cards, home loans, vehicle finance, insurance and private label cards. He says he is in Kenya looking to expand the company’s footprint in East Africa by shifting customers from traditional cash payments (using paper money) to non-cash payment systems (credit cards) through partnership with key retail outlets and also to tap into Kenya’s rapid growth in infrastructure and levels of income as a consumer market. afb already has a partnership with a few local guys like opticians, supermarkets, glassware shops, clothing shops, bookshops among others first in Nairobi and later on other areas of Kenya. What they’re looking to do is to offer credit to kawaida Kenyans who would otherwise be ignored by local banks and to give them credit cards at a lower cost of interest.
Here are the Charges You Need To Know About:
FEE in Kenya Shillings (incl. VAT)
|22% of the total amount
|Monthly Service Fee
|9% of the total amount
|Card Replacement Fee
|Late Payment Fee
What the Card does is it allows customers to spread the cost of their purchase into affordable monthly installments over a period of six months from a single item purchase. Karl, the CEO, says he intends to bridge the credit gap by offering credit to otherwise non-target credit card market customers of banks. The way the system works is that you’ve got to have a clean credit reference and a minimum balance to get a credit card in Kenya. afb wants to offer you a credit card even if you do not necessarily fall into the ‘credit’ segment.
“We have been piloting in the Kenyan market for the past six months and the uptake has been very encouraging in terms of the level of individual subscriptions and signing of retail partnerships.” said Karl.
He wants to build a 17 Million – 20 Million Dollars loan book in just the first year of operation. This will be financed through a combination of Equity and Debt which will hopefully be sourced over time through the Kenyan market. Westvig knows that bringing the benefits of card payments to people of Kenya and by and large, across the African continent is a primary focus for afb. This is with information that Kenya, and Africa as a whole, is heavily reliant on cash in both consumer and corporate sectors.
Here is a table of the repayment plan:
|BORROWED AMOUNT (KES) X
|MONTHLY REPAYMENT AMOUNT (KES)
|FINAL REPAYMENT (KES) X*6
|PERCENTAGE INTEREST RATE (% OVER 100)
As you may have already work out, it will be quite expensive to use this card for smaller buys although the rate or repayment doesn’t wane much through the rise of borrowed amount.
“This dependence is costly and cash payments restrict an individual or company’s economic activity to their immediate geographic area. We believe afb is unlocking the potential of the people by giving them access to credit which will greatly improve their lives. We will look to diversify out of Nairobi to support our retail partners in areas where there is sufficient formal retail presence to support a business operation,” he said.You have probably worked out that you are better off buying more expensive stuff with this card if you do get it because its charges are on the higher side for small loans under
How to Apply for an afb card:
- only 18 and over
- a stable monthly salary
- required valid identity document e.g a passport or National ID
- employment details (if self-employed you’d need to provide last 3 months bank statements with income, expense details)
- repayments on your credit (loan) can be made via M-Pesa at the till where you select (Pay Back) when you’re at the partner retailer