Lender Equity Bank Kenya has announced a partnership with NALA Payments Limited.
NALA is a remittance processing platform licensed in the UK and the US, and it facilitates diaspora remittances to Kenya.
According to a statement from Equity, the collaboration will allow Kenyans living in the UK and US to send money directly from their banks, through the NALA app, and to Equity Bank Kenya accounts and other mobile wallets.
Equity Bank Kenya will offer integrated financial services to its customers and by engaging NALA as a technology partner, the lender seeks to improve its position in remittances by giving its customers access to faster services by taking advantage of the growing popularity of digital channels.
Furthermore, this also enables NALA to serve its users in the US and UK who wish to save and invest in the Kenyan economy through financial infrastructure.
Equity has increased the volume of diaspora remittances. It jumped 39% in 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2020, taking advantage of the growing popularity of digital channels to send money from abroad.
Equity says it processed KES 383.5 billion in remittances in the 12 months to December, compared to KES 279.4 billion in 2021.
NALA is also opening a new office in Nairobi, to accommodate a third of the company’s staff.
While NALA operates with a remote workforce around the world, operational components such as partnerships and customer support will be anchored at the Nairobi headquarters under the leadership of NALA COO Nicolai Eddy.
Despite the array of options for sending money to Africa from abroad, the continent continues to be the most expensive place to send money.
The World Bank estimates the average transfer fee to Africa at around 9%.
Additionally, many existing options include hidden fees that make it difficult to discern the true cost of sending money.
In 2021, the two entities signed a similar agreement in Tanzania.
NALA CEO Benjamin Fernandes said, “NALA’s mission is to increase economic opportunity globally, and partnering with Equity Bank is a fundamental step for us. Combining NALA’s technology with Equity Bank’s reach enables us to build a stronger financial infrastructure for Kenyans everywhere. Payments in Africa are built at 1% and technology allows us to make strides towards integrating financial tools for advancement.
Robert Kiboti, Head of Equity Banking Private Banking, who spoke on behalf of Equity Bank Kenya Managing Director, Gerald Warui, said the partnership cements the bank’s position as the leading bank supporting Kenyans in the diaspora to send money to their relatives as well as for investments. He added that the bank is excited to work with NALA to bridge the access gap.
He attributed this link as one that will help expand the geographic reach in the remittances segment. “Equity will continue to connect with like-minded partners, such as NALA, to ensure that all of its members have access to the most competitive and transparent remittance services. Using fintech capabilities has given us a global presence and as a result, we have become a leading processor of remittance payments globally, including in all currencies,” he said.