Kiva conducts regular, ongoing monitoring of all Field Partners, but only posts status updates here in response to relevant, major changes at the partner.

Status update — September, 2019
After 10 years of partnership, Kiva and SMEP have come to the mutual decision to wind down the partnership. SMEP will no longer be posting loans to Kiva and will repay their outstanding balance in monthly installments over the next 18 months. We thank SMEP for all the impact they've had in the lives of Kiva borrowers and wish them the best in their future endeavors. 

Status update — January 17, 2018
Kiva recently re-assessed the level of risk associated with loans from this Field Partner. During this process, our analyst gathered updated operational and financial information about the institution, spoke with key members of staff and analyzed the Field Partner’s loan products. As a result, SMEP’s risk rating is now listed as 2.5 stars instead of 3.5 stars. The primary reason for the change in risk rating is their declining financial performance over the last 3 years caused by both internal and external environmental shocks. This decline has resulted in increased delinquency levels for their loan portfolio, as well as a reduction in SMEP’s ability to access sufficient capital to support their growth. External macroeconomic factors such as the negative impact of new laws implemented in September 2016 which capped the interest rate charged by commercial banks in Kenya have also played a role in their poor performance. While the organization is working to improve their performance through restructuring of their staff, products and internal processes, Kiva feels that a 2.5 rating is more accurate to their current level of organizational risk.

Partner description

SMEP Microfinance Bank is a leading Christian microfinance organization in Kenya. Operating since 1999, SMEP hopes to empower Kenyans and alleviate poverty. Through innovation, it plans to continue to redefine and reinvent its systems to respond to the evolving and active Kenyan marketplace. SMEP aims to maintain a strong, dynamic, customer-centric institution that is a reliable financial partner to all of its customers.

Because of this well established infrastructure, SMEP is able to serve 135,000 clients with a total portfolio of over KES 1.4 billion (US$16.3 million). It is a nationwide institution with 20 branches and 13 satellites covering all major towns in Kenya.

The primary goal of SMEP is to improve the standard of living of economically poor and marginalized entrepreneurs by providing access to credit and other services that can stimulate economic growth. In the long run, SMEP hopes to increase income generating activities among low income entrepreneurs, improve the business management skills of its clients and create an economically sustainable credit program.

SMEP’s unique lending approach

SMEP’s two main product categories of credit include group and retail loans. These loans are given to micro and small entrepreneurs who have registered with self-help groups and have complied with SMEP group rules and regulations.

These loans average in size from KES 25,000 to KES 3 million (US$292 to $35,000). To protect clients’ interests, these loans are not secured by conventional collateral such as land title deeds or vehicles. Instead, group members guarantee one another. SMEP’s loan portfolio is focused on financing small businesses or micro enterprises operated by low income individuals.

In 2009, SMEP achieved a major milestone by partnering with Safaricom to enable its clients to repay their loans using mobile transaction service M-PESA. 

In 2010, SMEP underwent another transformation. It made the transition from a credit-only institution to one that can also take deposits. To account for this, SMEP has opened branch facilities where its clients can not only receive and pay back loans, but also deposit money into savings accounts.


Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Jul 18, 2009 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $9,626,500 $1,342,243,800
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $1,129,300
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 1,461
Amount of Paying Back Loans $1,264,325 $147,423,550
Number of Paying Back Loans 2,597 194,726
Amount of Ended Loans $8,362,175 $1,193,690,950
Number of Ended Loans 20,313 1,537,959
Delinquency Rate 48.08% 10.51%
Amount in Arrears $229,274 $9,735,701
Outstanding Portfolio $476,842 $92,639,883
Number of Loans Delinquent 2,445 57,667
Default Rate 1.78% 1.76%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $149,076 $21,037,796
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 878 51,424
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.15% 0.39%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $14,578 $5,195,382
Refund Rate 0.41% 0.59%
Amount of Refunded Loans $39,525 $7,939,025
Number of Refunded Loans 63 7,847

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 62.61% 76.42%
Average Loan Size $420 $394
Average Individual Loan Size $421 $609
Average Group Loan Size $3,025 $1,762
Average number of borrowers per group 11.5 7.7
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $1,800 $5,773
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 23.35% 6.82%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 9.59 days 7.13 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $43.84 $55.26
  Average Loan Term 10.24 months 11.35 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 6,702 796,440
  Journaling Rate 26.33% 43.15%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.01 0.03
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.01 0.80

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2016 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 28% PY 36.00% PY 25.24% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) -1.2% 0.5% -1.43%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) 40.10% 56.00% 12.96%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Ritah Akoth
Repayment Reporting Api
Joanne Kariuki
Irene Kimaru
Nelly King'ori
Martin Maiyo
Abel Michael