Barclays goes mobile to boost growth

Barclays goes mobile to boost growth
Barclays Bank CEO Jeremy Awori during the launch of the Timiza mobile banking app

The battle for Kenya’s lucrative Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector is set heighten further following Barclays Bank’s launch of a mobile app.

Dubbed Timiza, the new platform will enable individuals and SME’s to access funding of up-to Sh150,000 at an interest rate of 6.1 percent with no collateral requirement.

Barclays has partnered with Safaricom to launch the app as it targets at least five million new customers.

The launch of the app takes the competition to KCB and CBA which have been running mobile bank accounts with Safaricom.

Equity Bank has also been leveraging on its Equitel mobile services to drive growth.

Speaking at the launch of the new service, Barclays chief executive officer Jeremy Awori said the app stemmed from a need to address customers’ requirements by availing new, digitized, reliable and convenient products.

“55 to 60 percent of people across the age groups would prefer to do their transactions on their phones or on the internet. Our ambition is to have over 5 million customers on the platform over the next 5 years,” said Mr Awori.

Banks have been diversifying their delivery channels since the introduction of interest rate caps in 2016.

With the mobile banking app, Barclays will be able to target a wide range of customers, offering micro loans.

Mr Awori further expounded on the need to attract a new and different clientele base given the existing presumption associating Barclays bank with an exclusive high end clientele saying this was not the case anymore.

“For us the Timiza app is very core allowing us access to a whole new customer sector. We want to grow with our customers from wherever they are starting and as they grow, we have products and services to meet their needs throughout their journey,” he added.

Apart from loans provisions, Barclays will work alongside Safaricom to compute predictive analytics for rating customers before issuing them with the loans.

The app will also allow users to buy insurance and to hail rides through a partnership with local ride-hailing company Little.

The two firms will also work together in educating customers on virtual banking in a view to eliminate the mental barriers associated with engaging in the service.

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