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12 Mar 2020

David Mwere, Nairobi News (Kenya)

Kenya: Call to probe digital money lenders for alleged predatory practices that compromise livelihoods

"MPs to probe digital money lenders over exploitation"

The operations of digital money lending institutions in the country have come under scrutiny as parliament launches investigations over allegations of operating illegally and that they have become exploitation tools against a majority unsuspecting Kenyans. A petition filed in the National Assembly by Mathare MP Antony Oluoch wants a House committee set up to probe illegal and exploitative tendencies with a view of stopping their operations on account that they have become social evils.

The MP also wants the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and Communication Authority of Kenya to audit the operations of all the digital lending platforms and formulate regulations to govern their conduct.“Digital borrowing has become a social menace responsible for suicides, divorce, family breakup and increased listing of loan defaulters by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB),” Mr Oluoch says in the petition...

According to a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), about 40 percent of the borrowers have multiple loans- from 6 to 10 mobile lending applications. The survey further indicates that due to the lack of proper regulation, the mobile lenders infringe on clients’ right to privacy by accessing customers’ contacts to call friends and family about the borrowers’ inability to pay their debts.