As the Uhuru Freeze expires, the CRB listing returns.

Financial services providers will regain access to borrowers’ credit information from Credit Reference Bureaus (CRB) on Saturday, as a year-old freeze expires.

On October 20, 2018, then-President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended negative listing or blacklisting of borrowers with arrears of less than Ksh.5 million, with the order retroactive to September 2020.

The freeze, imposed as a COVID-19 pandemic support measure, is set to expire at midnight on Friday, allowing creditors access to borrowers’ credit histories.

“We froze some of its (CRB) uses in the context of COVID-19.” “We now have COVID behind us,” said Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge on Friday.

“We froze some of its (CRB) uses in the context of COVID-19.” “We now have COVID behind us,” said Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge on Friday.

According to data provided by the Metropol Corporation CRB, an estimated 19 million Kenyans have credit histories with CRBs, with six million, or 22 percent of borrowers, negatively listed.

Nonetheless, the blacklisting of borrowers with a poor credit history is set to end as the new government pushes for credit information sharing (CIS) reforms.

Nonetheless, Metropol CRB Managing Director Sammy Omukoko has blamed lenders for blacklisting borrowers rather than using CIS data, which is issued to borrowers as credit scores.

“As the new government has demonstrated, everyone should have access to credit in the future.” “This can only be done if CRBs assign a credit score to each borrower,” he explained.

While acknowledging the risky use of credit history, CBK Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge has welcomed CIS mechanism reforms to make the system a better tool for customers regardless of their respective financial management journeys.

“The sharing of credit information has been a significant step forward in how we do business.” Without the CIS, we would never be able to adequately implement risk-based loan pricing. However, as the President has recently indicated and requested, we need to look into credit information sharing and improve it further,” Dr. Njoroge added.

Earlier this week, President William Ruto advocated for the use of credit scores to end the practice of lenders using negative credit information as the sole determinant of credit issuance to borrowers.

“Instead of saying you’re in or out, we should have a credit scoring mechanism that allows us to create a graduated list from the worst to the best so that everyone has a chance, even if you’re at the bottom.” “You can always work your way up as you learn the ropes,” President Ruto told reporters on Wednesday.

“What we’re asking is that credit listing not be an all-or-nothing, all-or-nothing engagement.” We want credit listing to be a service that allows everyone to be their best in their own time.”

President Ruto has stated, however, that he does not intend to abolish the credit information sharing mechanism or CRBS, and has even joked that the CBK Governor alleviates such bureau operators’ concerns.

“It is not in our position to oppose CRBs. “Our position is that we should change the listing model so that it is not an all-or-nothing affair that unfairly disadvantages borrowers,” the President added.

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