Coronavirus: Banks outline measures to handle crisis

Central Bank of Kenya building in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • CBK governor said that all money coming from banks will be quarantined for one week.
  • Banks will provide relief on personal loans to borrowers based on individual circumstances.

Borrowers with personal loans due this month can now rest easy after the government announced relief for up to one year.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge on Wednesday said that banks will provide relief to borrowers on personal loans based on individual circumstances arising from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

He pointed out that about 28 per cent of lending in the country comprises personal loans. To cushion Kenyans, he said all current loans as at March 2, 2020 will be eligible for the one year relief.

Dr Njoroge indicated that the relief will also apply to mobile money borrowers.


“Banks will review requests from borrowers to extend loans due for up to one year. This is just the first step we have taken. We will come back with more,” said Dr Njoroge. He was speaking at State House, Nairobi, during a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and bankers.

The CBK boss also indicated that banks will waive all charges for balance inquiries and also bear the costs of any restructuring during this time.

He added that they have also reduced charges for mobile banking besides increasing transaction limits. Loading money to mobile wallets has also been zero-rated.

Dr Njoroge said all these measures are aimed at reducing the need for actual cash transactions.


“These are part of measures that have been taken to reduce any adverse effects arising from the pandemic. We will also do public awareness campaigns on what they should do in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

At the same time, the CBK boss stated that all cash from banks will be quarantined for at least seven days to give time for the virus to become inactive before the same is released to Kenyans.

He said the time interval adopted is more than enough for the virus to become inactive.

The coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed the lives of at least 7,529 people globally, out of the 184,976 reported cases in 159 countries.