Why Okoa Stima doesn’t have the right to use the name CRB to threaten users

IMAGE CREDIT: fsdkenya.org

It’s ironic how institutions are using the name CRB to threaten their users which is against the   stipulated regulations.

A month ago, I decided to Okoa Stima because I was in a tricky situation.  The service is good because it allows Safaricom and KPLC customers to avoid power   disconnections. So, to shine some light in my house, I registered for Okoa Stima and borrowed   an amount within my limit.

One month later, I got a text from Okoa Stima; the text read,” Dear Customer, please repay your   outstanding loan of **** which is overdue by 21 days to avoid being listed in the CRB for   defaulting on Okoa Stima.

Jared Gatenga, the CEO of CIS Kenya was amazed when Kachwany.com team showed him the   Okoa text. “It’s a shame how such an institution or service can use CRB to threaten people.   CRBs are here to help Kenyans and other financial institutions. The bureaus are meant to uplift   the economy and Okoa Stima is not CIS member that implies that they cannot share to CRB.”

The CEO further provided that, if a person applies for a credit card or a loan, ordinarily he has   shared his whole life that is the personal information. This information will find its way to   another party who will store it for the benefit of another party.

Therefore, “Credit Information   Sharing is a process where credit providers such as banks and licensed Microfinance Banks   submit information about their borrowers to licensed Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) so that it   can be shared with other credit providers.” The CEO added.

Ideally, financial institutions are not allowed to propagate false information about CRBs since   the Consumer Protection Act and several other pieces of legislation including the Credit   Reference Bureau Regulations place premium on protecting the rights of a consumer, so if Okoa   Stima threatens you with a text, you have the right to follow up on the same or contact Tatua   Center for clarification.

“CRBs are required to prepare a credit report from the information they have on a customer. A   negative listing on a borrower’s credit report does not mean that one cannot access a loan facility   any more. It only means that lenders will treat you with more caution while appraising your loan,   which might result to more stringent loan terms.” Erick S, Onderi, the deputy registrar at Tatua   Center said.

“Licensed CRBs are required under the CRB Regulations to hold information on non-performing   loans and other negative information submitted to them by banks for at least 5 years.” He added.

Last year, Okoa Stima was sued by Colour Planet for violating ownership rights. The IT   Company claimed that it had registered “Okoa Stima” trademark name with the Kenya Industrial   Properties Institute because they wanted to use the name as electricity purchase software.

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Muhatia
Muhatia is the Managing Editor of Biz News Media Reach him via editor@biznews.co.ke