“F***k Banks!”

That’s what Sammy bellowed as he banged the tables we were on. He startled all of us. We were scampering all over the table to prevent the drinks from spilling.

We had just entered that moment during social gatherings when a blanket of silence comes and almost instinctively people pick up there phones to join conversations “online”.

That is what Sammy interrupted as he turned his phone to show us what seemed to have ticked him off.

It was a purpoted memo sent from a bank informing their staff of a raise in the interest rates for new loans and a “wait and see” on the interest rates of the current loans.

The backstory:

Kenyans have had a love and hate relationship with their banks. On one side, Kenyans think banks are out to fleece them. On the other side, banks think Kenyans take loans not to repay. A few years ago Kenyans got one up on the banks when a law was passed to regulate how much interest a bank can charge. The result, was banks chose to look at the government to give loans. The result was Kenyans could not easily get loans. I would know.

Forward story:

Several years of lobbying to get the regulation removed finally succeeded and the regulation was reversed late in 2019.

Back to Sammy and his rage. Sammy was a huge beneficiary of the new regulations. Just before the new law, Sammy had applied for a mortgage and was really disappointed with the offer he got. However when the law came to force,Sammy was pleasantly surprised by how more affordable his loan was and decided to take the plunge. Now Sammy is a home owner, albeit a nervous one due to this recent announcement.

The reason for Sammy’s anger. He does not trust banks, and the memo does not betray a change of behaviour by banks.

After a debate on the merits and demerits of the regulation no one could really give Sammy any consolation. We were all lost on what next steps he should take.

Another moment of silence….phones beam up to life…….. and onto another topic.

That’s life I guess

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