M-Shwari, the new banking product that seeks to widen financial access amongst Kenyans has roped in 645, 000 savers in a span of three weeks since launch in an emerging case study that sets the pace for accelerated financial inclusion within the Kenyan economy.
Since the launch of M-Shwari - a banking product of the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) offered through Safaricom's M-PESA platform - on November 27th, an average of 40,000 Kenyans have been signing up to the service daily, making its uptake one of the most compelling financial services propositions in recent years.
Commenting on the latest data Isaac Awuondo, CBA's Group Managing Director says that M-Shwari's take up so far is laying the foundations of what is likely to become a revolution in the financial system and a sneak preview to the future and rapidly changing world of mobile banking.
"We are trying to encourage a savings culture. No economy can develop in an effective manner without a strong savings culture," Says Isaac Awuondo, CBA Group's Managing Director.
M-Shwari has received overwhelming support from the youth with those in the ages of 26-35 forming 43.5%of the current customer base. Early trends indicate that more men at 68% are currently using M-Shwari to meet short-term obligations. Kenyans so far have saved over Kshs 150 million through M-Shwari and loans currently standing at over Kshs 50 Million with healthy repayment trends already noted.
In launching M-Shwari, CBA has taken an innovative approach to provide banking services to Safaricom's 19 million customers through M-Pesa. Isaac Awuondo has said, "We are going beyond the brick and mortar concept of banking and enabling Kenyans to join the world of finance with a mobile phone."
M-Shwari, makes it possible for customers to save as little as Kshs 1 and earn interest rate of up to 5 per cent, while eligible borrowers seeking amounts for as little as Kshs.100 will only be charged a one-time processing fee of 7.5 percent.
By saving with M-Shwari, customers will increase the loan amounts that they can borrow, a move that is widely expected to accelerate Kenya's financial inclusion agenda by availing formal banking service to millions who are not connected to the formal financial services sector