As it marks its five-year anniversary, Tala, the mobile lending app, has disbursed loans to over 2.5 million customers globally.
When Tala (formerly Mkopo Rahisi) launched in Kenya in 2014, it was the first in the market to offer unsecured mobile loans direct to consumers. Since then, Tala has expanded credit access across Kenya by using alternative data to instantly underwrite and disburse credit to people who have been excluded from traditional finance due to lack of credit history or formal records.
Speaking during the launch of ‘Tala at 5’ celebrations, the head of Tala’s Kenya business, Ivan Mbowa, said that Tala has changed the way people and small businesses operate and has become a major vehicle for progress throughout the country.
“Financial inclusion is an important condition for sustainable and equitable growth. Over the past five years we have witnessed first-hand the socio-economic impact of digital lending amongst households and micro-entrepreneurs,” Mbowa said. “With over 90% loan repayment rate, Tala has been the difference for millions of Kenyans hustling their way into the global middle class. Their trust in us is measurable and reflected in our top Google Play store ratings, referrals to family and friends and consistent calls from customers for more products and connection to their lives.”
Tala remains the largest non-bank fintech in the market having pioneered the use of non-traditional credit underwriting to create financial identities and provide much-needed liquidity for the underbanked.
“We have made significant progress in the past five years. Our loyal customer base has been growing steadily and we have managed to retain our leading market share notwithstanding growth and competition in the industry,” said Shivani Siroya, Founder and CEO of Tala. “We take pride in the work we have been doing, and as we face the future, we are well positioned to connect millions of Kenyans to financial services that can advance their lives.”
The success of Tala not only means financial access for those who have never had it, but also economic development for whole markets, as it creates a pathway for aspiring Kenyans to take control of their financial lives.
Fintech has brought a new paradigm to the design and implementation strategies for financial inclusion. In Kenya, the last five years have been characterized by a surge in Fintech growth with parallel progress in financial inclusion. Tala has been at the forefront of the digital revolution, transforming financial services especially for those who have little or no formal credit history.
Looking ahead, Tala will continue playing a crucial role in providing life-changing financial support in Kenya and around the world. “Our credit product was designed to meet the immediate needs of the emerging middle class, but our technologies have the power to fulfill so much more. We are set to launch a number of initiatives intended to accelerate the development of products and service solutions that have the potential to transform financial services,” Mbowa said.
“While technology is a big component, customer experience is the foundation underlying our success. To catalyze the expansion of accessible financial services for all, products must be developed with the customer at heart,” Mbowa added.
With an established customer base in Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines, India, and Mexico, Tala is also looking at cementing its position while expanding to several other countries in the next five years.
Tala is backed by venture and impact investors including PayPal, Revolution Growth, IVP, and Lowercase Capital. Tala is headquartered in Santa Monica, US, with additional offices in Nairobi, Manila, Dar es Salaam, Mexico City, and Bangalore.