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Banks extend repayment period of loans worth Sh9.9 billion, says CBK

NEWS
By Fredrick Obura | April 30th 2020
CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge

Banks have restructured Sh9.9 billion loans between March 18 and March 30 on request of customers following the effect of Covid-19 pandemic.

A number of banks in March announced a loan holiday for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and personal banking customers to cushion them against the economic disruptions caused by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Borrowers should endeavour to reach out to their banks, explain to them how the pandemic has disrupted your cash flow and repayment of the loan you may be servicing, don’t wait,” said CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge.

Following the outbreak of the disease, which has so far disrupted many businesses across the country, CBK in mid-March, ordered Kenyan lenders to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March 2 extended by up to one year.

Governor Njoroge said the move would alleviate the adverse economic effects borrowers may face due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at an online post-Monetary Policy Committee press briefing on Thursday, the governor noted the far-reaching effects of the virus on Kenya’s economy noting that it will slow growth in 2020 to 2.3 per cent or even below from 5.4 per cent growth recorded last year.

In support of his argument, the governor said already sectors such as the accommodation, transport and agriculture have contracted by 50, 10 and 2 per cent respectively. However, sectors such as ICT and health are expanding.

“We expect 2021 to be a rebound, currently the estimate is 6.4 per cent,” Njoroge told a virtual news conference.
The current account deficit is seen at 5.6 per cent of GDP in 2021 compared with 5.8 per cent in 2020, he said.

The governor also expects Diaspora remittances to slow in the month of April by between 12-15 per cent down from an increase of 229 million US dollars witnessed in March.  Kenyans living in the United Kingdom, United States of America sent home the bulk of the money, other destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Mauritius recorded a decline.

Meanwhile, the financial sector regulator has warned digital lenders to accept to be regulated or find an alternative market to operate.

The warning comes weeks after it ordered some of the operators banned unregulated digital and credit only lenders from submitting names of loan defaulters for blacklisting at the Credit Reference Bureaus (CRB).

In a statement, CBK explained that the withdrawal is in response to numerous public complaints about misuse of the Credit Information Sharing System (CIS) by the above-mentioned lenders and particularly poor response to customer response.

“With immediate effect, CBK has withdrawn the approvals granted to unregulated digital (mobile-based) and credit-only lenders as third party credit information providers to CRBs,” CBK said on April 14

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