Umba, a pan-African digital bank that acquired Kenya’s Daraja Microfinance Bank last year has officially launched its operations in the country. The financial institution has been operating only in Nigeria but has its eyes set on several African markets.
The move now enables Umba to offer full banking services in Kenya, including current accounts insured by the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), interest-bearing savings accounts, fixed deposit accounts, lending, and payments.
Umba was founded in 2018 by Irish entrepreneur Tiernan Kennedy and former Munster rugby player Barry O’Mahony. The startup aims to make it easier for consumers and SMEs to interact with banks and mobile money networks, providing a transparent, low-fee service that allows users to take control of their financial lives.
Users get a no-fee current account, low-cost payments, billpay and loans. The lender leverages the proprietary data generated by customers to offer credit products and generate revenue where customers can receive and repay credit products through their mobile phones.
Umba CEO Tiernan Kennedy. “It’s a fantastic opportunity we have been given to bring Umba to the Kenyan market. It’s been an extremely challenging and lengthy process to make this acquisition but the ability to stand on our own two feet and grow the bank into a serious player in the market is absolutely worth it.”
The fintech has the backing of leading VC investors, including Lachy Groom, Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital, and strategic angels such as Monzo founder Tom Blomfield and executives from NuBank. Chandaria Capital has also invested in the bank and strongly supported the Kenya launch.
“Kenya needs a great digital bank to offer the services that customers want, without the massive fees they have been paying to the legacy players. The winners here will be who provides the best services and we’re confident in our Team’s ability to deliver,” Kennedy said.