DLAK will initially focus efforts on dealing with the regulatory challenges that presently require attention while promoting ethical business practice in the industry/COURTESY.

The leading digital lenders in the country have today announced the launch of the Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK) to promote industry best practice and drive a coordinated approach in addressing the emerging industry’s pressing issues.

The DLAK incorporated in 2019, brings together leading digital-first lenders and other key stakeholders to represent and promote the common interests of digital lenders, consumers, and the digital lending industry.

Members will work together to set ethical and professional standards in the industry, to collaborate with policymakers and other stakeholders in addressing cross-cutting issues, and to drive the overall growth of the fintech sector in line with the Economic Pillar of the Vision 2030, MTP III, and the Big Four Agenda.

The Association is open to all ethical digital lenders subject to signing and demonstrating the commitment to the DLAK Code of Conduct. The 12 founding members namely, Tala, Alternative Circle, Stawika Capital, Zenka Finance, MyCredit, Okolea, LPesa, Kopacent, Four Kings Investment T/A Sotiwa, Kuwazo Capital, Mobile Financial Solutions (MFS), and Finance Plan Ltd have defined the Code of Conduct that members are required to adhere to.

DLAK Chairperson and Zenka Finance CEO Mr. Robert Masinde said that digital lenders came together to form the association to help each other address pain points in the industry, engage with the government on regulations for the sector, and create good practices for industry development.

“A vibrant and diverse digital lending sector has successfully established itself in the country and we feel the time is right to give it a voice and promote global best standards,” Mr. Masinde said. Adding that: “DLAK will enable digital lenders to speak with a common voice, promote best practices, and influence how the sector develops while promoting the ethical business practice to the benefit of customers.”

The Association’s strategy, as well as the issues to be addressed by DLAK, will be determined by a Strategic Committee in which each member company will be represented by its institutional head (CEO, Managing Director, Country Manager etc) or another member of their Executive Board. Currently, it consists of Robert Masinde (CEO Zenka), Rose Muturi (Vice Chairperson and Chief Digital Officer HF Group), Kevin Mutiso (CEO Alternative Circle), Allan Mukui (CEO Kuwazo) and Ivan Mbowa (Regional Country Growth Manager Tala).

On her part, DLAK Vice Chairperson Ms. Rose Muturi emphasized that the aim is to create the right environment for technology backed lenders to evolve, as this will eventually result in sustaining this new financial sector, Fintech.

“Over the last five years, we’ve seen first-hand the challenges that digital financial service providers face in their efforts to sustainably offer products and services that address the unique needs of underserved customers. The Association will incentivize the growth of digital lending models as a way to promote greater financial inclusion and extend high quality financial services to underserved communities and businesses” said Ms. Muturi.

She added: “I see great benefits for all stakeholders in bringing this know-how together to improve regulation landscape and standards in the industry.” DLAK will initially focus efforts on dealing with the regulatory challenges that presently require attention while promoting ethical business practice in the industry as well as consumer sensitization programs.

In the mid-term, the Association is targeting activities and initiatives to leverage the combined know-how of the industry in order to foster the quality, safety, and reliability of the services and products for digital lending customers. All the current members have signed the Code of Conduct. The Code represents an ongoing effort to continually evaluate how digital lending industry can best serve the customers, respect the efforts of regulators, and set useful precedents for how digital lenders contribute to the financial ecosystem.

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