Commercial Bank of Africa, Kenya’s largest privately owned bank, has taken pole position as the country’s largest bank by customer numbers to vindicate its innovation of offering savings and loan products through the mobile phone.  “We are delighted to announce that we signed on our 10 millionth customer this week, and this cements CBA’s credentials as the category leader in this space,” said Mr. Isaac Awuondo, CBA’s Group Managing Director.  “M-Shwari is leading the revolution towards a cash-light economy in East Africa, and today it ranks as one of the world’s most successful full service mobile banking deployment that has managed to reach scale in just over 2 years.

M-Shwari, Kenya’s first truly mobile-centric banking service was launched in partnership with Safaricom Limited on November 27, 2012.

The partnership has seen M-Shwari deposits throughput gross over Kshs 153 billion since launch, affirming the trend in Africa of the growing convergence between the financial services and telecommunications sectors as the greatest catalyst to accelerated financial inclusion amongst the world’s under-served populations.

“This milestone goes beyond a mere number and two institutions. It shatters the myths about how to scale social innovation in banking to expand financial inclusion by offering a simple and affordable model to reach out to millions of Kenyans who want to save or borrow in a convenient, fast, reliable and affordable manner, to help them meet their daily needs” said Mr Awuondo.

Backed by a dynamic mobile phone based credit scoring system, CBA has extended loans amounting Kshs 29 billion, processing an average of 50,000 loans per day over the last two years without demanding security or the need for clients to visit a bank branch to apply for for the loan.

The demographic indicators show, 59% of M-Shwari customers are male while women account for 41 per cent of the customer base, with the highest usage witnessed among 24-35 year age group. Women are however using the savings product more, while men over of 40 years are saving at a higher rate than their younger male counterparts.

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