Four months after the first batch of 10 Digital Credit Providers (DCPs) were given licences, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has given 12 more digital lenders the greenlight to operate in Kenya.
This brings the total of licensed digital lenders to 22 out of an estimated 300+ lenders operating in the market prior to the September 17, 2022 deadline to submit applications for licensing.
At the time, the CBK stated that it had received a total of 288 applications since March 2022, meaning that there are now about 266 applications that are still being processed by the regulator from the first batch of applications.
In a statement on Monday, January 30, the CBK updated the list of applications to 381 up from 288 in September 2022 which brings the number of applications under review to 359.
The 12 digital lenders that have now received their licences are;
The 10 Digital Lenders that were licensed by September 17, 2022 are;\
This development comes at a time when digital loan app companies are jittery over a possible removal from the Google Play Store starting February 2023 for lacking relevant regulatory approval.
In an update on the company’s Developer Program Policy late November 2022, Google is requiring developers of personal loan apps targeting Kenyans to complete a declaration form that includes a copy of a government licence before their app can be published on the Play Store.
The Google Play Store commands the majority of target audience numbers and a loss of access to the platform where Android users download apps from would be a major blow to any loan app developer.
“Personal loan apps in these two countries must complete declaration forms and submit documentation for our review in order to remain or publish new personal loan apps on Google Play. We are updating our Deceptive Ads policy to state that ads must not simulate or impersonate the user interface of any app features,” Google said in a statement.
“Currently we only accept declarations and licences from entities published under the Directory of Digital Credit Providers on the official website of the CBK. Personal loan apps operating in Kenya without proper declaration and licence attribution will be removed from the Play Store,” the statement from Google adds.
Other platforms that do not directly offer loan services but facilitate such loan providers to offer their services will also have to show the licences of all providers on their platform.
Money254 has learnt that some of the digital lenders that are yet to get the CBK node - whose applications for a licence are still in review - are already building web interfaces from where users can complete loan applications in anticipation of a possible lock-out from the Play Store.
However, as Money254 understands, the removal of digital loan apps en-masse from the Google Play Store is unlikely to happen as Google seems to be accepting proof of CBK licence application as a form of compliance with the regulator. That is, all loan apps whose applications are pending with the CBK are unlikely to be kicked out of Google Play in February 2023.
“Other applicants are at different stages in the process, largely awaiting the submission of requisite documentation. We urge these applicants to submit the pending documentation expeditiously to enable completion of the review of their applications,” the CBK stated on Monday.