Tala finally legal as CBK approves 12 mobile phone lenders

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Tala is among an additional 12 Digital Credit Providers (DCP’s) that the Central Bank of Kenya has approved out of a total 381 that applied last year.

They include Inventure Mobile Limited (Trading as Tala), Letshego Kenya Ltd, MFS Technologies Limited, Letshego Kenya Ltd, Natal Tech Company Limited, Ngao Credit Limited, and Pezesha Africa Limited.

Others are Sevi Innovation Limited, Tenakata Enterprises Limited, Umoja Fanisi Limited and Zanifu Limited.

“The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) announces the licensing of 12 Digital Credit Providers (DCPs),” CBK said in a statement.

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“This brings the number of licensed DCPs to 22 following the licensing of 10 DCPs announced in September 2022,” it added.

Only last year, CBK approved 10-DCPs after it directed all unregulated digital credit lenders to apply for registration.

“This is pursuant to Section 59(2) of the Central Bank of Kenya Act (CBK Act),” CBK said in a statement.

According to the regulator, a total of 381 applications have been received so far since March 2022. It is working with applicants in reviewing their applications.

CBK said that it is working with other regulators and agencies in the licensing process such as the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

“The focus of the engagements has been inter alia on business models, consumer protection and fitness and propriety of proposed shareholders, directors, and management,” it added.

“This is to ensure adherence to the relevant laws and importantly that the interests of customers are safeguarded. We acknowledge the efforts of the applicants and the support of other regulators and agencies in this process.”

In December 2021, former President Uhuru Kenyatta assented the Central Bank Amendment Bill, 2021 allowing CBK to regulate non-deposit taking credit providers

It gives CBK power to suspend any DCP that breaches data confidentiality by pursuing borrowers as well as high interest rates.

“The licensing and oversight of DCPs as indicated previously, was precipitated by concerns raised by the public about the predatory practices of the unregulated DCPs, and in particular, their high cost, unethical debt collection practices, and the abuse of personal information.”

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