Speaking during the launch, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Deputy Governor, Sheila M’Mbijiwe lauded Caritas MFB’s efforts in addressing the financial needs of the micro and small enterprises (MSEs), specifically women, youth and self-help groups.
“Caritas Microfinance Bank joins the financial sector at a time when technology and banking are converging to facilitate provision of ever convenient services to consumers. “I therefore urge the bank to leverage on this convergence and contribute towards the financial inclusion agenda and promoting economic growth in Kenya in line with the country’s economic blue print, Vision 2030,” said Ms. M’Mbijiwe.
Tracing the history of the microfinance bank which is promoted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, His Eminence Cardinal John Njue noted: “Today’s launch marks the culmination of a journey that began more than three decades ago when a need was identified of empowering the faithful economically, especially vulnerable families within our parishes.”
His Eminence added: “This need led to the first Self-Help Group being established in 1983 in Kiriko Parish in Gatundu with the main objective of promoting self-reliance amongst the members. The concept later spread to the other parishes within the Archdiocese of Nairobi.”
Currently, the archdiocese boasts of over 200 self-help groups spread across various parishes within the Nairobi and Kiambu counties with about 100,000 members.
Caritas MFB Chairman, Patrick Kinyori emphasized the bank’s commitment to serve the “unbanked and under-banked” sectors which account for about 25% of Kenya’s population.
“Caritas MFB has invested in one of the latest core banking platforms in the market that will facilitate a technology driven business. The bank is working with strategic partners to reduce the cost of operations and to deliver value to customers,” added Mr. Kinyori.
Since beginning operations, Caritas MFB which has two branches in Nairobi’s Central Business District, has registered close to 10,000 customers who have opened both current and saving accounts.
In addition, the bank has mobilized close to Kshs 400 million in deposits and disbursed over Kshs 250 million in loans.
Caritas MFB has most its customers conducting their transactions via mobile phone reinforcing the growing importance of the technology in service provision.
“Currently, about 70% of our customers’ transactions are done on the mobile banking platform. Our strategic goal is to have 80% of all transactions on alternative banking channels over the long term,” said the bank’s CEO, George Maina.
The bank has also embarked on agency banking to increase its footprint. Currently, 16 agents have already received licensing from CBK. By the end of the year, the bank is planning to have recruited 50 agents.
The bank has also partnered with the Cooperative Bank of Kenya for ATM and point-of-sale(POS) services, enabling its customers to have nation-wide access to their accounts Customers can make withdrawals at all Visa branded ATMs and also purchase goods and services at all Visa branded outlets.
“In addition, plans are at an advanced stage to rollout bancassurance services to our customers as soon as we receive the necessary approvals from the regulating authorities. By the end of the year the bank will have a total of 5 branches. The strategic plan envisions 12 branches and 200 agency outlets by the year 2020,” added Mr. Maina.
The licensing of Caritas MFB reiterates the Central Bank’s commitment to the development of an all-inclusive financial system.