More than 65,000 beneficiaries of the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) don’t give a damn if the government agency goes ahead and forward their names to the Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) over unpaid student loans estimated at Sh6.5 billion ($65 million).
Helb last month gave beneficiaries of the State student loans since 1975 up to mid-May to confirm their repayment status or else be listed with the CRBs. Following the threat, only 1,879 persons started repaying their old loans out of the estimated 67, 000 that owe the student loans agency billions in unpaid debt.
“As at May 24, a total of 1,879 loanees started repaying their loans,” Helb said in a statement on Tuesday.
“For those who have engaged with us and started repaying, the listing (CRB) will be positive. For those loanees who have not heeded to the notice, the listing will be negative.”
The listing is expected to jeopardise their chances of borrowing from banks and Saccos but it seems Kenyans really don’t give a hoot going by their defiance act.
The board last month said about 67,093 former university students owe the agency Sh6.5 billion in non-performing loans. Helb recovered Sh11.16 million following the listing notice.
"A total of 156,198 accounts valued at Sh24.2 billion are repaying their loans while 67,093 loanees holding Sh6.5 billion are in default. The loan portfolio is performing at 70%," said Helb.
Helb had earlier announced that it was finding it difficult to trace some 25,000 beneficiaries, casting doubts on the agency’s ability to recover billions of shillings lent to students.
This has partly contributed to the cash shortage, which has weakened its ability to support university freshers and continuing students, prompting allocation cuts. Beneficiaries are expected to start repaying one year after completing studies.
In the last four years, more than two million loan defaulters have been negatively listed on Kenya’s CRBs. A significant number of those listed are for amounts less than Sh1,000, mostly borrowed on mobile phone apps.