It has been argued time and time that East or West, home is best! That is why Kenya’s fastest growing micro lender is giving a golden opportunity to the Diaspora community to invest their hard earned money back home in a secure and rewarding environment. All this to safeguard their future, for those who will come back someday, and at the same time playing an important role in the economic development of the country.
“We have identified that Kenyans work so hard but they do not know that at the end of the day, they will retire,” says Choice Microfinance Bank chairman and founder Ben Kamiri. “We are offering them a solution for their retirement.”
Choice Microfinance, the country’s first diaspora-focused microfinance institution has been conduction an aggressive campaign in the Diaspora to woo potential investors to invest in the bank that was earlier this year given a full operating license by the banking sector regulator, the Central Bank of Kenya. Choice became the 11th microfinance bank to be licensed by the CBK.
The bank has been hosting investor road-shows in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. So far, the response has been overwhelming with more and more Kenyans choosing Choice Microfinance as their preferred financial institution of choice.
According to Mr. Kamiri, the opportunity to invest in the bank is still open. Nevertheless, the limited chance is almost coming to an end with investors too hungry to take on a piece of the cake. Anyone interested to invest in the bank can visit the website www.choicemfb.com or write an email to [email protected].
Apart from giving the diaspora community a chance to invest in the bank, Choice Microfinance is giving Kenyans living abroad an avenue to send their money back home safely and at NO COST! Instead of placing a charge on the money transfer services, the bank proposes to retain the fees in the sender’s savings account at the bank.
Already, the bank has entered into partnership with electronic payment platforms like Simba Pay in the UK and ZoomPesa in Canada to make sending money home less hustle-free. The bank is also in the process of rolling out a state-of-the-art mobile banking platform to allow customers access their bank accounts anywhere, anytime.
“We are able to offer these solutions wherever you are because we have agents across the scope to do underwriting and advising,” adds Mr. Kamiri. What’s more, the bank services on a 24-hour system that ensures continuous enjoyment of products and services.
The decision to primarily focus on the Diaspora is out of the realization of the important role they play in nation building.
Remittance inflows to Kenya picked up in the first half of 2015 by 9.2 per cent to $754 million from $690 million in the first half of 2014. In June 2015, remittance inflows increased by 17.1 percent to $136 million compared to $116.1 million in June 2014 and increased by 5.3 percent when compared to inflows in May 2015.
“If we package our remittances properly, we can have positive impact in our nation,” Mr. Kamiri said.
Back home, Choice has been putting in place measures to aggressive grow its footprints and by so doing engage in the noble task of economic development. At the core of these is the five-minute thumb rule that stipulates that a customer must be served within the first five minutes of entering the banking hall.
And to grow the customer base, the bank is offering customers a free account opening option with no ledge fees or even a minimum operating balance
Choice microfinance bank prides itself as one of the first diaspora driven initiatives in the financial services sector in Kenya. Choice MFB operates in Kajiado North Constituency, Kajiado County. Choice MFB’s target market are the pastoralist communities, flower farm workers and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) resident and operating in Kajiado North Constituency. The microfinance bank also targets the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and higher learning institutions within its administrative operational area. Marginalised communities and institutions, including pastoralist communities and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) respectively, still represent a large percentage of the unbanked population in Kenya.