Story by Benjamin Gachoka
Under the bank’s slogan, “give a listen to the customer,” the plenary of youth attending the youth peace summit conference from different walks of life was all ears as the bank’s credit managers David Mukaru and Belinda unmasked the myth behind their products. In the same light, the youth were also given a chance after the presentation to ask questions pertaining to loans products.
The aim of these products is to uplift the socio-economic status of the community.
Equity bank in this respect has partnered with the government in managing the Youth Development Fund which is now known as the vijana biashara loan as part of its endeavor to target the youth.
According to the credit officers, youth are eligible for loans only when they have registered with the Ministry of Social Services and form a group comprised of 15 -30 members who must be holders of ID cards. The youth in Kenya are considered to be between 15- 35 years old. The group must therefore open a common account with the bank and seek to meet regularly with the bank as accorded so as to get familiar as well as gain entrepreneurial training and appraisal among members.
The first loan offered amounts to Kshs. 30,000 within repayment of 6 months. After the bank has established due payment and accountability of the group, further loans of Kshs. 50,000, 70,000 and 100,000 can be offset which is the maximum amount that is given by the bank in this category.
Interest rates vary from 0.6% per month, 8% per year, and 4% per 6 months.
To cover the groups incases of accidents or death, the bank is offers an insurance payment of 0.275% which David Mukaru the Equity credit manager terms as a “benefit” to its clients rather than a just another added cost. He further reiterated that this insurance is to avoid the bank from demanding of the deceased family incase of any death occurrence the for both the insurance money and leaving them to incur the cost of burying their member.
The bank also clarifies that 30% of the group’s members can be above 35 years of age. This translates to13 of each group members should already be running existent micro businesses, while 10% can be starters.