Digital lender Branch acquires 84.89% shareholding of Century Microfinance Bank

Digital lender Branch acquires 84.89% shareholding of Century Microfinance Bank

Digital lender Branch has successfully acquired 84.89 percent shareholding of Century Microfinance Bank (Century MFB).

The acquisition dated January 1, 2022, was approved by the Central Bank of Kenya on December 30, 2021, under Section 19 (4) of the Microfinance Act and approved by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning on January 7, 2022, pursuant to Section 19(3)(b) of the Microfinance Act.

“CBK welcomes this transaction that is a critical component of Century MFB’s transformation plan. It will strengthen Century MFB and support the stability of the microfinance banking sector,” said CBK in a statement.

Branch was incorporated in Kenya on April 2, 2015, and is wholly owned by Branch International Holding Ltd, a company incorporated in Mauritius. Branch International Holding Ltd is owned by Branch International Inc (BI), a company incorporated in the State of Delaware in the United States of America.

It is one of the largest mobile application-based lenders in the country and brings financial services to emerging markets by leveraging on the power of technology.

According to the CBK, Branch’s total assets stood at Ksh.1.1 billion as of December 31, 2020.

Century MFB was licensed by CBK in September 2012, to carry out a nationwide microfinance banking business.

Century has two branches, one at the Head Office located along Moi Avenue, Nairobi and the other in Gikomba. It is categorised as a small microfinance bank with a market share of below 1 percent of the microfinance banking sector as at December 31, 2021.

The institution’s primary focus is the provision of financial services to smallholder farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Since the first MFB became operational in 2009, the Kenyan financial sector landscape has transformed significantly. This has been underpinned by advances in technology, innovation and customers’ drive towards any time Anywhere services.

In response to this changing terrain, CBK has been working with MFB’s to transform their operations.  All MFB’s formulated transformation plans in 2020, to adapt to the New Normal.

These plans are anchored on a review of business models to be customer-centric, leveraging on technology and innovation, and strengthening capital and liquidity buffers.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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