- Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
The Co-operative Bank of Kenya, on Monday, July 6, partnered with the County Government of Laikipia in a Ksh300 million project.
In a statement, the bank noted that the partnership was aimed at helping 7,000 entrepreneurs recover from the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic by way of affordable financing and training.
The bank also noted that the fund was aimed at empowering co-operatives in Laikipia County.
"The Laikipia County Government and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Co-op Bank) have today launched the Laikipia Enterprise Fund with an initial kitty of Ksh300 million, to offer affordable financing and business support to co-operatives and entrepreneurs in Laikipia County."A Co-op Bank Kenya branch in NairobiFile
"To kick-off, the Fund, the bank and the county government have entered into an Interest-Sharing and Guarantee Arrangement. This is aimed at supporting two key segments," read the statement in part.
In the new project, borrowers will pay single-digit interest rates, making the arrangement one of the most affordable lending program in Kenya today.
The low-interest rates were made possible by the interest-sharing arrangement in which County Government of Laikipia is expected to offer an interest subsidy of 5%, thereby reducing the bank lending rate from 12.1% to 7.1% per annum for all borrowers.
The bank also noted that borrowers will enjoy a reduced appraisal fee at 1.5% of the approved loan amount.
Co-op Bank promised to match the amount that the County Government will place in the Enterprise Fund three-fold.
This will be aimed at ensuring that as many borrowers benefit from the opportunity. Other services to be provided by the bank include digital banking tools, workshops for business training, and capacity-building consultancy services for co-operatives.
The repayment period for the loans was pegged at up to 12 months for SMEs and up to 18 months for co-operatives.
The county government will be tasked with the initial vetting of loan applicants as provided for in the Laikipia County Enterprise Fund Regulations 2020.
The Co-operative Bank Group is one of the largest banks in the region with an asset base of over Ksh470 billion, predominantly owned by the over 15-million-member Kenya co-operative movement.
The bank also owns a 24.7% stake in CIC Insurance Group and a 25% stake in Co-op Bank Fleet Africa Leasing Limited.
The Bank recently acquired 90% of Jamii Bora Bank.Co-operative Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki giving an address.Business Daily