NAIROBI, Kenya, December 18, 2018 - Tala, the leading consumer lending app in emerging markets, and the Smart Campaign, a global initiative to promote strong financial client protection for low-income clients housed at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, announced today a partnership on digital client protection research.
The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income consumers. The Campaign maintains client protection standards and a rigorous certification program for financial service providers, which are being adapted to encompass digital financial services, initially focused on digital credit.
Smart and Tala recently conducted a client protection research assessment, which consisted of extensive interviews and site visits with Tala’s operations in Kenya to establish best practices in consumer protection for digital lenders. Based on the findings from the assessment with Tala and research with other providers, Smart will release industry standards for digital lenders in 2019. The success of new standards for digital lending depends on the willingness of industry leaders like Tala to be transparent and committed to client protection practices.
Tala is among the first mobile digital lenders to engage in the pilot assessment. “We are proud to collaborate with the Smart Campaign to further our mission to empower the underserved through innovative solutions that put the customer first and set an example for the industry,” said Rose Muturi, East Africa Regional Manager at Tala. “Collaborating with Smart was a natural fit given our commitment to the core tenets of consumer protection, including transparent pricing, clear customer communications and representative advertising.”
“Partnering with providers is crucial for establishing standards for digital credit that are sustainable for the industry while ensuring that the most vulnerable clients are protected,” said Smart Campaign Director Isabelle Barrès. “Tala has demonstrated a commitment to the client protection principles by engaging in an in-depth examination of their practices.”
In addition to the pilot assessment, Tala and the members of Smart’s Fintech Protects Community of Practice are working together to build a responsible digital lending industry. The shared effort to promote consumer protection is part of a greater drive for accountability and fairness in the digital credit industry, as providers seek to deliver on their promise to extend digital financial services to the historically excluded.
“At Tala, we believe our role as a market leader goes beyond extending access to financial services to include greater awareness, education and care for our customers,” continued Muturi. “In the coming months, along with other leading digital lenders, we will be launching a customer education and industry best practices campaign, along with a code of conduct for responsible digital lending in Kenya.”
Millions of underserved people have borrowed through Tala’s smartphone app, which provides instant credit scoring, lending, and other personalized financial services in emerging markets. The company has delivered more than $500 million USD in credit and has more than 300 employees across offices in Santa Monica, Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Manila, Mexico City, and Bangalore.
Tala is the leading mobile technology and data science company committed to financial inclusion globally. Tala currently operates in Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, and Mexico, and has launched a pilot in India. Tala is backed by leading venture and impact investors including PayPal, Revolution Growth, IVP, and Lowercase Capital. Tala is headquartered in Santa Monica with additional offices in Nairobi, Manila, Dar Es Salaam, Mexico City, and Bangalore.
About the Smart Campaign
The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. As the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Campaign maintains a rigorous certification program, elevates the client voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level. Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 44 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards. More at www.smartcampaign.org.