President William Ruto on Thursday launched the Hustler Group Loan, the second product of the Hustler Fund, which he said is aimed at enabling groups of at least 10 to access funds.
The groups will be required to have at least 10 members to be eligible for borrowing between Sh20,000 and Sh1,000,000, President Ruto said.
The Hustler Fund personal loan product has been disbursing loans of between Sh500 and Sh50,000.
"The second product of the Hustler Fund will usher our unique collective-driven competitive market enterprise to the online domain. To promote inclusion, the Hustler Fund is going to deploy groups such as chamas and saccos [to help] overcome exclusion and barriers to participation in credit, savings, social security, health insurance and other socioeconomic amenities," President Ruto said.
"This is how we will use policy and technological innovation to mainstream our way of life. We are committed to leveraging fintech in ensuring that no one is left behind in the financial and entrepreneurial inclusivity revolution."
The government further reported an improvement in the repayment of money borrowed from the Financial Inclusion Fund, popularly known as the Hustler Fund, three months after it began assigning credit scores to all borrowers tapping into the kitty for personal loans.
The State set itself a sunset date of February 28 to have all Hustler Fund borrowers assigned a credit score with a view to better positioning in lending from the fund based on risk profiling.
On Thursday, Dr Ruto reported that the total number of Hustler Fund digital transactions stood at 42.5 million, following its registration on November 30, 2022.
He said that of this number, 20.2 million Kenyans had accessed nearly Sh30 billion and repaid Sh19.7 billion, with 7 million being repeat customers.
"Not a single shilling has been stolen through corruption and borrowers do not need to know anyone, bribe any official or go through complex bureaucratic procedures to access the Hustler Fund," the President said.
"They only need a device, a little airtime and a few minutes, and they are able to get money wherever they are."
These latest figures indicated that 66 per cent of the borrowed amount had been repaid as at June 1. They further indicated that over the last one month, Kenyans borrowed Sh2.4 billion, 8 per cent of the entire loan book of the fund.
The figures showed an improvement from the performance reported by the President during Labour Day celebration on May 1, when repayments totalled Sh17.6 billion, out of a Sh27.6 billion loan book, translating into a 63.8 per cent repayment rate.
As at February 17, out of the Sh18.8 billion disbursed through the Hustler Fund, Sh10.1 billion, or 54 per cent of the amount borrowed, had been repaid.
On February 4, the government raised the credit limits of 42.0 per cent of all Hustler Fund borrowers while reporting that 800,000 borrowers had run into headwinds in settling their repayment obligations.
Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet secretary for Cooperatives, Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises, has in the past indicated that the raising of credit limits for Hustler Fund borrowers was expected to unlock Sh1.8 billion in additional lending.
The Hustler Fund was one of the biggest beneficiaries in the Supplementary Budget I of 2022/23, having received an allocation of Sh12.1 billion.
So far, Kenya Kwanza has launched two of the four products envisioned to comprise the Hustler Fund – the Personal Loan launched on November 30, 2022 and the Group Loan launched on June 1, 2023.
The products yet to be launched are the SME Loan product and the Start-Up Loan.