The Star (Nairobi)

10 July 2014

Kenya: Safaricom, KCB Deal to Counter Equity's Mobile Money Plan

KENYA Commercial Bank has partnered with Safaricom to offer a new product that converges financial and communication services to take on Equity Bank's planned mobile virtual network operation business.

The two firms yesterday launched the Biashara Smart range of products that includes various service packs that offer financial and communication services and products initially targeting small and medium enterprises.

Under the product, customers can choose from two different starter pack with the cheapest one being starter pack lite in which a customer holding an M-Benki account is eligible for a loan up to a maximum of Sh30,000 after saving for at least 30 days. Also under this pack, an SME account holder will get a website set up for them and five official email accounts at Sh599 per year.

The more superior start-up pack will give customers a priviledge account at KCB, loans of up to Sh1 million, smart phone devices either a phone, tablet or an Ipad, Safaricom will set up a website for them and a bigger email storage capacity than that of starter pack one.

Other than loans, devices and other communication services, the products also contain a business information suites as well as tips sent periodically to help the SME customers.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said the partnership helps the two companies leverage on the strengths of their core businesses to offer their combined clientele a one stop shop.

"We are not a bank so it's better that the bank gives the financial services and we can concentrate on giving our customers communication services," said Collymore yesterday at a media briefing after the launch.

KCB group CEO Joshua Oigara said: "The journey today unfolds the strength and the synergies of the two corporates to integrate a one stop solution for more than one million registered micro and SMEs in Kenya to scale up and grow their business with ease through access to financial capital and a communication solution."

Equity Bank recently launched its MVNO roll out plan in which it will use Airtel's infrastructure to operate mobile phone and communication services key among them access to loans via phones and money transfer. Equity also targets other mobile commerce services like account transfers as well as communication products like data offerings under its MVNO offering.

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