Nairobi – Faulu Microfinance Bank is stepping up its presence in the counties by helping small businesses to play a bigger role in key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, commerce, tourism and real estate.
This will allow the bank to lend more than Shill 1 billion to farmers, traders, contractors, manufacturers and property developers in Nakuru, Nyandarua and Laikipia counties, three of the fastest growing business and economic centers in Kenya‘s Rift Valley region.
During the bank’s new branch in Nakuru Town, Faulu Bank’s chief executive officer, Apollo Njoroge said the institution is implementing a Sh3 billion package targeting small businesses over the next three years.
“Faulu is keen to strengthen its engagement in the counties where the economic action is taking place by providing much-needed financial assistance to improve the ability of small businesses to take advantage of trading opportunities at the decentralized level,” said Njoroge.
He explained that Nakuru’s status as a major transit city along the busy Mombasa-Nairobi-Malaba highway that connects Kenya with Greater East Africa enables it to develop into a prime regional trading hub spanning the central moat and western Served parts of the country.
Faulu provides trade and asset finance to growing businesses in the county that are involved in value-added activities in agricultural processing, manufacturing, horticulture, dairy farming and housing.
Trade finance products include Local Purchase Order (LPO) and Local Service Order (LSO) finance, invoice discounting, supply chain finance, tender / bid bonds, prepayment guarantee, retention guarantee, payment guarantees, and customs guarantees.
The bank will also offer farmers crop insurance through its all-finance agency.
The Nakuru branch was recently consolidated with the Njoro marketing office as the bank seeks to recapture its clientele by creating operational synergies while using alternative channels such as mobile banking to keep up with new market trends and customer dynamics .
The bank, which has over 500,000 customers across the country, including individuals and groups, also caters to individuals and households in the regions with a variety of personal finance products. This includes the large number of teachers, civil servants and employees of the district governments.
Faulu has also partnered with the Kenya Seed Company to help farmers buy seeds. Nakuru is considered one of the granaries of the country due to its high agricultural production, especially corn, wheat and potato production.
According to the World Bank, the county is one of the largest and richest in Kenya and accounts for 6.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Nakuru is set to become the fourth city after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu after the Senate approved a plan to upgrade its status in June this year.
Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the county is keen to work with businesses to advance the economic and social development agenda.
âNakuru County is open to business. This move by Faulu Bank symbolizes the strong partnership between the county government and the private sector in creating real economic opportunity for our people, âsaid the governor.
Faulu has also officially opened a branch in Nyahururu City, which has upgraded it from a marketing bureau to position itself strongly in Laikipia County, which is ranked in the top five counties by the Kenya Institute of Public Policy, Research, and Analysis (KIPRRA) is aimed at creating a conducive business environment for SMEs.
Laikipia County Governor Ndiritu Muriithi welcomed Faulu’s decision to support the county with investors.
“I am pleased to announce that Faulu Bank will increase its support for local businesses. The Laikipia County Government stands ready to work closely with financial services providers to deepen trade in transforming the local economy.”
“Our growth strategy is designed to meet the unique financial needs of small businesses that make up the majority of our customer base. The bank’s capital injection resources are designed to sustainably support and accelerate our business goals,” said Njoroge.
In addition to financing, Faulu also trains its SME clients on how to grow their business and strengthen financial risk management.