In March, local loan app branch announced that they had received an investment of $9.2 Million from renowned venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz. The Series A equity funding was meant to support expansion of the App into new markets while at the same time allowing for the firm to recruit talent for its operations.
Branch has been a success in the local market. According to a survey conducted by startup Djuaji Research, Branch holds the pole position as far as services that provide mobile loans via smartphones go. Branch has 27.68% of the market followed by Tala (Previously called Mkopo Rahisi) with 24.29% with Saida at 7.14% and Mombo Mobile with 0.89% of the market. The research by Djuaji also stated that 40% of respondents had never heard of the mobile App lenders meaning there is still a large market.
Branch has today announced that the firm is expanding the service into Tanzania. In addition, the company has released a new version of the App, which personalizes the entire loan borrowing process for the customers. The app will now give users the choice between multiple loan offers in addition to simplifying the entire process for users.
The App says that the number of users has now surpassed 100,000 users in Kenya with the average loan size on the service now at Kshs. 3,000. The company has disbursed 450,000 loans since its launch with the average user taking 4-5 loans. As with every lender, Branch also faces issues with loan repayment. The company did not state its non-performing loan rates only stating that range which is between 5-10%. Among the measures being taken to reduce the figure is improvement of their machine learning algorithms and heuristics.
Still on the issue of NPL’s, Branch says it is working to fend off fraud on its platform and has managed to eliminate fake accounts on the platform. It has also engaged debt collector agencies to deal with the issue in addition to reporting borrowers who default to the CRB. The firm is also working to ensure it approves the right kind of first-time borrowers.