Nigerian digital bank Umba has launched operations in Kenya as it begins its expansion across the African continent to open up banking services for Africa’s vast, underserved market.

Following its acquisition of a majority shareholding in Daraja Microfinance Bank, Umba can now offer full banking services in Kenya, including current accounts insured by the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), interest-bearing savings accounts, fixed deposit accounts, lending, and payments.

Founded by Irish owners, Tiernan Kennedy and former Munster rugby player Barry O’Mahony, the fintech offers consumers and SMEs easier means to interact with banks and mobile money networks, providing a transparent, low-fee digital financial service alternative to legacy African banks allowing users to take control of their financial lives.

Users get a no-fee current account, low-cost payments, bill pay and loans. Umba also uses the proprietary data generated by customers to offer credit products and generate revenue where customers can receive and repay credit products through their mobile phones.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity we have been given to bring Umba to the
Kenyan market." Umba CEO, Tiernan Kennedy, commented in the release.

Umba has strong backing from leading fintech investors, including Costanoa Ventures, which led the startup’s Series A, as well as Lachy Groom, Lux Capital, Palm Drive Capital and strategic angels such as Monzo founder Tom Blomfield and executives from NuBank. Chandaria Capital is also a backer and strongly supported the Kenya launch.