Tala, the mobile phone-based loan service, has announced the introduction of flexible loan repayment and revised limits for its customers. The review is due to the challenges brought upon individual clients and households by the current COVID-19 crisis.
In a message posted online, Ivan Mbowa, Tala’s GM for East Africa stated that the firm has had to “make many changes very quickly to keep” its team safe and the business healthy.
“We’ve been doing our best to support you through these changes, but I know there have been times recently where we’ve let you down. We know we won’t always get it right, so we want to thank you for your patience and understanding. These times are unprecedented, and we are learning from you every day about how to be resilient in times of crisis,” stated Mbowa.
In order to ensure that it continues to serve its customers, Tala has introduced the following measures:
- Flexible repayment: Customers who for one reason or another are unable to repay their pending loans by the due date due to COVID-19 are to reach the firm via email – email@example.com – then work out a revised repayment plan.
- Modified lending: Though committed to serving as many existing customers as possible during this time, some of customers may receive loan offers that are lower than their previous limit. The change will not affect the client’s good standing with Tala, and will revert to the previous limit as soon as the situation normalizes.
- Trusted information: For customers looking for free, trusted information on COVID-19, Tala has developed a Resource Center within its app and on the website. The list has been curated with the help of its inhouse team and partners.
- Supporting essential workers: Tala has developed a long-term Community Support Loan for its customers who are providing essential services to their communities during this time – including accessible healthcare, fairly priced foods, or sanitary household products.
The new measures by Tala come over a month after the financial services regulator Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) published new Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) regulations and additional measures on credit information sharing (CIS) which effectively barred digital lenders (mobile phone-based, including Tala) from listing their clients with CRBs.