BY MWANAHABARI REPORTER
Businessmen men and women are over the moon after Kenya Commercial Bank announced that it had doubled lendings by 131 percent to Sh25.2 billion for those in business.
The news could not have come at a better time given the harsh and challenging environment micro-small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) have had to contend with since the pandemic came knocking on our doors.
The KCB group CEO Mr. Joshua Oigara told The Standard that the bank has seen a strong rebound on its performance with all sectors from trade, agriculture, manufacturing, education, real estate or consumer lending recovering strongly.
“As a bank we remain confident of achieving our growth. Today our loans are growing at double digits. It is only in mobile lending where we haven’t grown as fast as we would have wanted.
“I remain confident of loan growth especially for SMEs and large corporates,” he told Enterprise.
KCB has started an ambitious project on SMEs and “we believe we will more than double our SME lending by between Sh 50 billion and Sh 60 billion in the next one year” – said Oigara.
“We know the SMEs we are dealing with and we have the opportunity to increase the size of the portfolio.”
Oigara said that there was a gap between the pace at which banks are tapping the long term loans and lending to SMEs.
But blmaed the delay especially on the crisis in 2020 brought about by the pandemic.
The CEO noted that apart from just lending they also do training and capacity building to create a network of enterprises.
“Our approval rates are today at 90 percent of all applications, up from 50 percent. Our end to end turnaround time is down to seven days from 14 days,” he said.
“We should be in a position to grow and double our portfolio for SME lending this year and also next year.”
He also noted that KCB had tripled lending limits, so that those who had Ksh 1 million limit now have Ksh3 million – and is available at branch levels with same day approvals.
The news has left small and medium businesses feeling motivated – especially in the pandemic year.