Co-operative Bank of Kenya’s short-term loans issued via mobile phone have grown 2.6 times to Sh91.14 billion on increased demand for salary advances due to Covid-19 economic hardships.
The lender discloses that its mobile platform M-Co-op Cash loan book surged from Sh34.58 billion at the end of June last year to Sh91.14 billion at the end of last June.
The number of customers taking the e-credit, mostly for short term goals such as buying food and paying rent, has also tripled from 2,982 to 9,139.
Co-op Bank says that 86 percent of the e-credit or Sh78.38 billion relates to salary advances with the remaining share tapped by businesses for working capital.
The increased uptake of salary advances coincides with the period in which the discovery of first Covid-19 case in Kenya on March 13 triggered job losses and salary cuts, disrupting financial plans of salaried people.
Industries and other businesses have since cut down on their activities in response to the pandemic, leading to job cuts and unpaid leave for retained staff as profitable firms move into losses.
This has triggered a jump in workers seeking short-term credit through digital applications to plug gaps in their expenditure.
“We are actively engaging our customers to support them through this period by re-aligning the servicing of facilities, funding and transactional needs as the situation unfolds,” said managing director Gideon Muriuki.
Salary advances, which are usually repayable by between one and three months, were at Sh28 billion in June last year.
They are usually attractive because they do not come with conditions such as guarantors or security. Banks mostly require one to maintain a salary account.
Co-op Bank charges a processing fees of eight percent on the amount of salary advance.
In addition, the customer pays 20 percent excise duty of the processing fee and an insurance fees of 0.034 percent of the loan value.