A measly three percent of all the 288 applicants seeking a slice of the digital loans market have been given regulatory approval. Interestingly, established players such as Tala and Zenka were left out in the initial list.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) noted that it has so far awarded licences to 10 players who have been in operation for just more than a year as market leaders are left guessing their fates.
Mwanzo Credit which set shop in January last year and Rewot, My Wage Pay, which started operations in July 2021 at the same time as Flash Credit have bagged licences.
Kweli Credit, which has not yet started disbursing loans, has also gotten approval while Sokohela operating since 2019 but scaled down as a result of Covid-19 is also making a comeback.
Industry leaders including Tala, Zenka and Oye mobile are yet to receive the regulatory nod but the CBK says it has allowed all applicants to continue operations pending the conclusion of the process.
The deadline for applications closed on September 17, which means that only those that have applied will continue operating.
Any new entrants will now be forced to wait for licenses to start operations.
Tala issued a press statement assuring customers and stakeholders that it had applied for licenses and will continue operating to calm its customers.
Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (Dlak) Chair Kevin Mutiso said the regulator has been overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications that numbered 288 but expressed confidence the big players will soon get approvals.
“The players that have received approvals are small representing about 0.01 per cent of the market, we have to understand that CBK regulates just about 40 banks and 14 microfinance and the sheer