Coop Bank’s Michu is Ethiopia’s first uncollateralized digital lending product, powered by Kifiya’s Qena, an AI-driven digital lending platform.
The Bank will offer lending solutions targeting Micro, Small, and medium businesses (MSMEs), providing access to credit through groundbreaking and cutting-edge credit scoring systems.
Research shows that Ethiopia’s MSME financing to GDP ratio was 2% in 2020. This ratio is lower than South Africa’s 14% and Kenya’s 6% in 2020. Ethiopia’s poor ratio is attributed to the crowding-out of credit by the public sector and high requirements for loans to MSMEs by micro-finance and commercial banks.
Financial institutions place high requirements, partly due to a lack of credible credit ratings. Michu’s ease of access enables users to apply for loans and receive decisions based on credit scoring logic. The loan application process, from eligibility and verification to analysis, scoring, and loan disbursement, gets completed within a few minutes.
“We are excited to join hands with Kifiya as we expand our digital financial offerings and deliver support to the financing needs of micro and small businesses that are often neglected but represent a significant part of the economy,” says Deribie Asfaw, President of Cooperative Bank of Oromia.
“Today’s partnership with Coop Bank marks an exciting era for the Ethiopian Digital Economy as Kifiya’s Qena technology heralds uncollateralized digital lending in the country. With the help of our AI-powered credit scoring digital lending platform, we hope to address the needs of uncollateralized finance in the MSMEs sector in Ethiopia, “says Munir Duri, CEO of Kifiya Financial Technologies Plc.
The non-collateral digital lending product is a new loan service that is innovative and makes the loan service process swift, non-collateral, and easy to access anytime and anywhere. The product uses data to determine creditworthiness and offers a flexible payment method. The Michu digital lending product is expected to increase Coop bank borrowers by 30% during the pilot period.
In its first 6 months of operation, Michu has disbursed over 200 million birr in loan. The loans were given out to 40,000 micro-businesses in 25,000 loan applications.
How to get a loan on Michu App?
Micro-businesses in need of finance to supplement their businesses can take loans ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 birr on Michu. Interest on Mihcu ranges from 2% to 2.5% on a monthly basis, while a facility fee of 2% is calculated on the approved loan amount.
Michu is accessible through an app and comes with speedy loan analysis as well as a short processing period that is automated.
However, the Michu app can’t be downloaded from the Play Store or Apple Store, and neither can you find the apk file on other websites.
To get the app, users should first visit coop branches, where they can get the app from the bank. Users then register on the app, filling in their company and personal information.
A coop bank account, renewed trade license, TIN, renewed ID card, and memorandum of association are some of the requirements users have to submit on the app to register. Once registered, users will be able to request a loan.
A loan application officer verifies the submitted documents while Qena decides on the request and conditions of the loan. If the loan request is approved, the users are notified, and they can collect the money from any coop branch or via mobile banking. Michu and Kifiya are working on adding three additional loan products by 2023.