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  Umba, a digital bank for underserved markets in Africa, has expanded its operations to Kenya from Nigeria. The aim of Umba is to simplify banking for customers and SMEs, provide low-cost services and offer credit products through mobile phones. The digital bank offers a range of services, including current accounts, loans, bill payments, and low-cost payments. After obtaining a majority stake in Daraja Microfinance Bank, Umba can now offer full banking services in Kenya. These services include insured current accounts, savings accounts, fixed deposit accounts, lending, and payments.
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“It’s a fantastic opportunity we have been given to bring Umba to the Kenyan market. It’s been an extremely challenging and lengthy process to make this acquisition but the ability to stand on our own two feet and grow the bank into a serious player in the market is absolutely worth it,”
said Umba CEO, Tiernan Kennedy.
“We’re very thankful to the Central Bank, the shareholders at Daraja and our market expansion team at Umba for making this happen. Kenya needs a great digital bank to offer the services that customers want, without the massive fees they have been paying to the legacy players. The winners here will be who provides the best services and we’re confident in our team’s ability to deliver.”

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Umba’s Series A funding was led by Costanoa Ventures, and the digital bank has received support from other prominent fintech investors, including Lachy Groom, Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital, and angel investors such as Tom Blomfield (founder of Monzo) and executives from NuBank. Chandaria Capital is also a backer and played a significant role in supporting Umba’s expansion into Kenya.
“We’re delighted to see Umba launch in Kenya. We invested with the knowledge that they had a unique entry point into the Kenyan market, as well as a strong business in Nigeria. We believe that Umba brings a really strong offering to consumers and businesses. The team has been shipping value to their customers month over month and the result is an excellent product. Going from one country to two can be a big challenge, but the opportunity is huge when executed well. We’re excited to continue supporting this team and this market opportunity,”
said Mark Selcow of Costanoa Ventures.
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Umba has enhanced its leadership team by appointing Peter O’Toole and Dan Watts. O’Toole is a seasoned CFO and financial services professional with over three decades of leadership experience. He has served as Group CFO of Interswitch and CFO of Renmoney in the past. On the other hand, Watts, who previously held the position of Chief Credit Risk Officer at Renmoney and Carbon, has dedicated the past ten years to creating pioneering and sustainable lending programs for banks and fintech across Africa. Featured Image Source: Disrupt Africa
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This article was first published on 15th February 2023


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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