The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on November 11 noted that Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) were using unfavorable credit reports, seen by the general public as tools to deny borrowers credit.

The CBK pointed out that circumvention continues despite improvements to the credit information sharing (CIS) framework launched in 2010.

First, it ordered CRBs to include a standard statement at the top of every credit report stating that a customer’s credit rating should not be used as the primary reason a lender should deny a customer a loan.

Further away, The CBK added that it would work closely with the banks in implementing risk-based credit pricing, where banks will be required to consider a borrower’s credit score and other factors before making a lending decision.

The Central Bank of Kenya

Kenyans.co.ke

“When borrowers are having difficulty repaying their loans, they should proactively engage their lenders. They should also periodically review their credit reports to track their credit scores and verify the accuracy of the reports.” CBK announced.

The CBK asserted that the approach would allow borrowers and in particular micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)to access credit at an appropriate price.

The 2020 Regulations provided that CRBs were to develop a credit score for each borrower whose credit information was submitted and that the score was to be calculated using the details and methods prescribed by the CBK.

“We remind the public that they are entitled to one free credit report per year.” CBK reiterated.

He also urged citizens to meet their payment obligations on their credit facilities to enable them to build up a good credit history, thereby securing loans at better rates.

The initial introduction of the CIS framework addressed the cost of authorization reports required by citizens prior to employment, which was seen as a barrier to entry and unregulated digital lenders and credit-only lenders using the list CRB and other measures to harass borrowers.

Blacklist members of the public based on their credit scores was seen as a punitive tool that prevented Kenyans from getting loans instead of helping borrowers leverage their credit history to get better loan pricing.

In Kenya, a credit score starts from 0 to 900 and is considered a good score when it is above 800, which indicates that one can repay his loan quickly.

A good score is determined by a borrower’s loan repayment history, the type of loan a borrower is applying for (digital or mortgage), the term of the loan, and a borrower’s total debt.

Archive image of Kenyan banknotes

Archive image of Kenyan banknotes

Case

A rating between 0 and 450 is an indicator of a poor rating, a reason that may lead financial institutions to refuse to offer you loans, due to a poor repayment history.

In President William Ruto’s inaugural address on September 13, 2022, he supported assigning credit ratings to borrowers in a bid to enable CRBs to ensure that Kenyans are not denied credit.

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