Q. What gap do you see in the crowded microfinance bank sector and what do you aim to focus on?
Firstly, we have a gap in financial inclusion. The license that we were granted by the Central Bank of Kenya was a move towards reducing this gap of Kenyans who are unbanked, that currently stands at 17.4% of the Kenyan population as per the Finaccess Household Survey of 2016 .
Secondly, we also see a gap in the sector dominated by a lot of inefficiencies around service delivery to customers including weaknesses in customer relationship management. Thus customer needs are not adequately addressed.We aim to focus on innovative banking solutions informed by customer feedback
Thirdly, for a long time, microfinance banks have been identified for loan issuance only (credit only). The enhancement of a savings culture which is a key to growth in Gross domestic product(GDP) has not been adequately addressed. Maisha Microfinance Bank will drive the savings culture through our innovative savings products
Q: How will you differentiate your offerings?
We shall endeavor to embed a strong customer relationship culture to help us develop and deliver customized financial services to our customers. We aim create efficiencies and unmatched turnaround times in service delivery to our customers. For instance when opening an account with Maisha Microfinance Bank, a client will be able to get a bank account number within less than ten minutes.
Q: You had earlier indicated that you will offer comprehensive Insurance Premium Financing (IPF) products as value-add alongside other Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) financing products, what variety of other services will you be offering?
We offer a variety of other products like attractive savings and current accounts, Fixed/Term Deposits, and a wide range of credit products for both individuals and businesses. In addition, we are in the process of launching trade finance products to facilitate trade by our business customers
Q: What is your initial capitalization?
The regulator requires a minimum core capital of Kes 60 million for nationwide deposit taking license which we have.Our committed shareholders have exceeded this by fifty percent currently.
Q: How many branches will you initially operate across the country?
At the point of licensing we have commenced operations with a single branch and a head office both located at Chester House along Koinange Street in CBD Nairobi. We intend to expand our outreach through a mix of brick-and-mortar branches and third party agency outlets as outlined in our strategic plan.
Q: With banks charging loans at the new capped rates of 14 per cent how do you see this impacting on your business?
The capping of rates is a revolution in the financial services sector. There is a high likelihood of credit rationing by some financial services players thus widening financial exclusion. Microfinance Banks are likely to address the needs of financially excluded customers or unbanked Kenyans.
Q: Kindly provide a brief background of Mr Gichana and his professional experience?
Mr. Gichana is a seasoned banker with a working experience in both microfinance and conventional banking spanning 24 years. He joined Maisha Microfinance Bank Limited in September 2015 as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. Previously Mr. Gichana worked at Faulu Microfinance Bank Limited for 5 years as Head of Operations between 2010 and September 2015 . Mr. Gichana has also worked with Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya Limited for 18 years in various positions,including Head of Branch Operations and Service Delivery responsible for the branch network, as well as Risk Enhancement Project Manager-East Africa. Mr. Gichana holds a Masters of Banking and Finance (Microfinance Option), Masters of Business Administration(Strategic Management) and a B.A. degree (Technology Management Studies option). He is certified by theFrankfurt School of Finance and Management as both an International Certified SME Finance Expert and Certified Expert in Risk Management, and is a CPA Part I holder.