Coronavirus

Kenyans were forced to squeeze a living out of their empty pockets or beg for the goodwill of their family members to survive the Coronavirus pandemic as most lenders sat on their money to protect their capital from default.

Data tracking sources of income from the Financial Sector Deepening-FSD shows that most credit lines dried up during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Loans from shopkeepers, money lenders and banks were especially rare to come by after the virus hit. The data shows that even loan from families declined.

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Moneylenders have vanished since the regulator barred fintechs from forwarding the names of loan defaulters to Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) and stopped the blacklisting of borrowers owing less than Sh1,000.

Dr Patrick Njoroge CBK Governor accused them of abusing the CRB mechanism and said they constitute a very small segment of the loans market.

Banks have been reluctant to lend to private sector after industry non-performing loans sored to Sh378 billion by May this year, 13 per cent of the entire Sh2.9 trillion loan book.

Only chamas remained constantly issuing out loans at the same rate confirming the fact that chamas are typically the go to areas when the going gets tough because they are flexible and rely on social pressure within closed groups to deal with default.

Informal financial groups such as merry-go-rounds or chamas are used by 41 per cent of the Kenyan adults while traditional bank accounts are held by only 32 per cent of the population.

FSD data, however, shows that decline in lending opportunities made Kenyan more resilient in relying on their incomes, working more or turn to dependency from family.

Reliance from savings and pawning of assets reduced maybe because they were getting depleted or their use was being managed more efficiently.

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