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Kenyan bank sold to US firm - CBK announces

The US firm has heavy investments in Kenya and Nigeria

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced the acquisition of 66.06 per cent shareholding of Daraja Microfinance Bank Limited (Daraja MFB) by UMBA Inc. (UMBA) effective July 1, 2022.

This follows CBK's approval on May 23, 2022, under Section 19(4) of the Microfinance Act and approval by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani on June 10, 2022.

UMBA is a fintech company incorporated in the State of Delaware, United States of America and has its headquarters in San Francisco, California.

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The company has operations in Kenya and Nigeria. In Kenya, UMBA operates a non-deposit-taking credit business through its subsidiary UMBA Technology Limited.

In Nigeria, it operates in partnership with a licensed bank to offer digital banking services.

The company raised $2 million (Sh238 million) in 2020 to expand its products and services.

In 2021, the UMBA raised $15 million (Sh1.7 billion) to continue rapid growth in Nigeria and expand into new African markets.

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Daraja MFB was granted a licence by the CBK on January 12, 2015, to carry out community microfinance bank business within Dagoretti, Nairobi County.

The microfinance bank’s head office and branch are located at Dagoretti Corner, Nairobi.

The bank’s target market is micro and small enterprises. It is categorised as a small microfinance bank with a market share of below 1 per cent of the microfinance banking sector as of March 31, 2022.

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The Central Bank noted that the investment by UMBA will strengthen Daraja MFB's business model.

In particular, it will support the digitalization of Daraja MFB as it moves to provide 'anytime anywhere' services to its customers. This is aligned with CBK's vision of a microfinance banking sector that works for and with Kenyans.

CBK welcomes this transaction which is a critical component of Daraja MFB's transformation plan. It will strengthen Daraja MFB and support the stability of Kenya's microfinance banking sector,” a statement from CBK read.

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