There’s undoubtedly stiff competition here in Kenya when it comes to mobile money and Absa Bank is determined to reap big in this particular segment. In what seems like a strategic move to enhance its mobile loan services, Absa Bank Kenya has unveiled plans to introduce long-term high-value loans through its mobile loan platform. This initiative comes as part of the bank’s commitment to bolster the capabilities of its mobile financial services, a venture it ventured into over six years ago.
The institution has outlined its intention to transform the Timiza app into a fully-fledged standalone mobile-only financial services entity, aligning with its overarching strategy of expansion and diversification within the retail sector.
Initially launched in the middle of March 2018, the Timiza app was conceived as a digital innovation to cater to the evolving financial landscape. As of now, the platform provides users with the ability to access mobile loans of up to Sh150,000 with a repayment window of 30 days.
Moses Muthui, the Chief Strategy Officer at Absa Bank Kenya, disclosed that the bank is poised to take Timiza to new heights. While specific timelines weren’t provided, the bank plans to enhance the platform to offer loans exceeding the Sh150,000 threshold, granting borrowers the flexibility of longer repayment terms.
Muthui explained, “Timiza’s capabilities haven’t been fully harnessed. It has primarily served as a supplementary platform for short-term borrowing. Anticipate a broader array of borrowing options including longer-term loans of substantial value.”
He further elaborated, “We foresee more capabilities being unlocked, as we are observing a paradigm shift towards micro and mobile-exclusive financial services. This is an area we perceive as a flourishing opportunity. Presently, thirty percent of our retail lending, in terms of cumulative value, is channeled through Timiza.”
Muthui articulated that repositioning Timiza as an autonomous business entity would expedite its growth trajectory, facilitating the integration of additional features, such as unit trusts.
In its current form, the Timiza app extends mobile insurance services, enabling customers to access affordable personal accident and funeral expense coverage for as low as Sh42 per month. Moreover, the platform encompasses functions like fund transfers, bill payments, airtime purchases, and the provision to save and accumulate returns via a Timiza savings account.
Among the landscape of bank-affiliated lending apps, Timiza shares the stage with other notable offerings such as Commercial Bank of Africa’s M-Shwari, Equitel, M-Co-op Cash, and KCB M-Pesa.
Earlier this year, Absa introduced a convenient ATM withdrawal feature within the Timiza platform, allowing patrons to access funds from any of the bank’s automated cash outlets. This inclusion further solidifies Absa’s commitment to embracing technology to deliver seamless financial solutions to its customers.