Kwara: A true cooperative spirit.
Kwara provides secure, simple and affordable online and mobile banking for SACCOs, also known as credit unions and community banks. In 2018, the Nairobi- and Berlin-based business set out to empower finance cooperatives in emerging markets to meet their members’ needs instantly and help them avoid expensive predatory alternatives.
Deposits & Lending
Cloud banking platform
Kwara began its journey in Nairobi because Kenya is the world’s largest market for finance cooperatives and one of the earliest fintech adopters, thanks to a successful launch of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer service by Vodafone and Safaricom, in 2007. While SACCOs are the economy’s major drivers, they tend to be slow, not digitised and cut off from the resources, capacity and structure of incumbent banks. A severely underserved market, financial cooperatives often find themselves trapped on a desktop having settled for ad hoc, custom-built systems with expensive pricing and add ons.
Aiming to facilitate SACCOs’ inclusion into the formal financial ecosystem and let them enjoy the benefits of the entire sector, Kwara envisioned a standardised, affordable and future-proof digital banking platform that required an infinitely scalable, cloud-native foundation.
Kwara & Mambu
After researching various cloud-native solutions, the team came across Mambu’s composable banking platform, which stood out because of its open APIs and agile approach to produce and deliver. After validating Mambu’s technology, Kwara selected Mambu and partnered closely over a period of several weeks to implement and launch Kwara’s digital banking platform.
By adopting a composable approach, today Kwara is able to offer underbanked finance cooperatives an opportunity to access world-class technology. The scalability of Mambu’s pure SaaS banking platform plays a key role in the ease with which Kwara is able to expand the capabilities of its offering, and the business is able to rapidly increase the speed with which they meet the needs of their customers.
Kwara’s cloud-based digital banking platform is secure and compatible with all modern browsers and is accessible from both smartphones and feature phones. The company’s SaaS approach makes them affordable for businesses who want automation and predefined configurations, thanks to which SACCOs are able to keep their members engaged, empower them to repay and offer personalised financial services.
Since the launch, Kwara grew its member base to over 27 000, and next to expansion into ASEAN it continues accelerating the signup of micro, SME and enterprise SACCOs.