Branch, a mobile lender in Kenya has disbursed 1,500,000 loans through its innovative android application since its launch in Kenya in 2015 and the firm is now eying entry into Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
In Kenya, Branch has 350,000 customers and is disbursing nearly $4m Sh400 million a month. The firm has also been growing its presence in Tanzania, where it has been scaling by 30 per cent month over month since the beginning of the year.
“We’ve seen fantastic growth at Branch because we know what our borrowers expect from their financial partner: they want speed, transparency and convenience.We are disrupting the existing lending space by making credit available at the tap of a button, within minutes of downloading the app – no paperwork or collateral necessary,’’ said CEO Matt Flannery.
Branch offers MPesa loans of up to KSh 50,000 via an Android application that can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.
Lending decisions are made by a proprietary credit score calculated by analysing over 2,000 data points on applicants’ phones.
New borrowers start out with a loan of up to KSh 1,000 and can grow their credit limit based on their repayment performance on previous loans.
The company’s growth has been spurred by its unique policy of offering lower interest rates to customers who have reached higher credit limits, thereby encouraging repeat uptake.
As part of its radical approach to financial services, the mobile App lender is also working with other companies in the market to create exclusive loan offers by leveraging the partner company’s data to supplement its credit scoring model.
Last November, it launched a KSh30,000 loan targeted at Uber drivers from which over 500 have benefitted to date.
In May, a similar partnership was announced with Jumia, whereby working capital loans are provided for merchants on the online shopping platform.
In December 2015, Branch became the first African company to raise investment from US firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose portfolio includes Facebook and AirBnB, closing a $9.2m Series A round. The mobile-based financial services company has raised over $15m in equity and debt funding to date.