Metropol gets licence to start Uganda operations

Nairobi-based loan information-sharing service provider Metropol has finally been issued with a licence to commence operations in Uganda.

The Kenyan credit reference bureau had in March this year been granted an approval “in principle” by the Bank of Uganda.

Entry of Metropol in Uganda’s credit information sharing business brings to an end the monopoly enjoyed by Compuscan, partly owned by private equity firm Actis.

“We are pleased to announce that Metropol has been finally issued an operating licence by the Bank of Uganda,” said Sam Omukoko, managing director of the firm.

“We have been busy establishing necessary databases and collating information from banks and micro-finance institutions, in order to develop much-needed tools for the prompt electronic production of credit reports,” said Mr Omukoko.

Metropol Uganda will be headed by Elly Mukasa, who also owns a Kampala-based debt collection firm.

Uganda is banking on credit referencing system to lower the rate of loan defaults — with the volume of bad loans declining by nearly a fifth to Us89.6 billion as at December 2014.

Metropol will receive, collate, compile and share with authorised users details of borrowers’ histories from approved data sources.

Mr Omukoko revealed the company will issue credit reports, credit scores, SME ratings, mobile phone loan platforms reports and risk management.

Uganda’s banking sector regulator last year made amendments to the Financial Institutions Act and Credit Reference System Regulations to allow entry of new loan information-sharing players.

The new rules also separate credit reference bureaus from the financial card system identification services — which is a biometric identification database powered by Kenyan IT firm Techno Brain Ltd.

The landlocked economy made a total of 611,895 credit enquiries in 2014, raising the cumulative number of enquiries to 2.3 million as of December 2014, according to data from BoU.

Further, 144,171 financial cards were issued last year, raising the cumulative total to 1.09 cards since its inception in 2008.

Credit information sharing in Kenya’s banking sector was rolled out in July 2010. The three players in the industry are Creditinfo, Credit Reference Bureau Africa Ltd and Metropol.

SOURCE: The East African