Kenyan Branch Microfinance will mainly operate as a branchless bank even after becoming a micro-bank after acquiring Century Microfinance Bank last year.
The micro-lender shut down one of three branches of Century Microfinance immediately after acquisition. Branch will also close another banking hall next month, meaning it will retain one physical outlet which will also serve as its headquarters.
“As a neobank, we don’t need physical presence, however the law says we must have at least one branch. We have had over four and a half million users with very few branches,” said Rose Mutur, Branch International Managing Director for East Africa.
“It makes no sense to tell our customers where our branches are as it will never satisfy their needs.”
When it was acquired, Century microfinance bank had two branches in Nairobi, one located on Moi Avenue and the other at Gikomba.
Branch has migrated Century customers to its digital platform.
Branch’s digital shift goes against the grain of its rivals which have in the recent past expanded their brick and mortar branches.
Aside from its digital credit, which is its mainstay, Branch has launched services such as savings products, bill payments and peer to peer funds transfers.
“This has enabled us to have almost a 360-degree view of our customer unlike before when we were just a digital credit provider disbursing loans to customers’ mobile wallets,” Ms Muturi stated.
But for the requirement to have at least one branch,
Muturi says the micro-bank could entirely go branches if the law allowed it