Tala, a mobile lending platform that has operations in Kenya, India, Mexico and Philippines has announced that it is shutting down its operations in the East African country of Tanzania.
In a statement posted on Twitter and Facebook (the FB one is in Swahili), the company informed users that it was no longer offering loans in Tanzania, “We regret to inform you that Tala is no longer offering loans in Tanzania. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and wish our loyal customers continued success in your financial journeys…”
The immediate response from customers was a tone of celebration, thinking that they had gotten away with their current Tala loans but the company had other plans, providing a Tigo Pesa paybill number for users to clear their debts, “You can use the following paybill number to pay outstanding balances,” read the statement.
A reason for the sudden exit has not been issued, however, an interesting statement from an official in the company points to the possibility of legal issues.
“Yes, we are no longer offering loans in Tanzania. Unfortunately, due to legal reasons, we cannot divulge any more information other than what was communicated on social media,” said the Tala spokesperson.
What About Kenya?
In a slight twist though, Tala Kenya claims that the company is not completely shutting down its Tanzania operations but rather putting a pause on them as they evaluate their future business in the country.
“Tala Tanzania has not made a decision to permanently close operations. However, after piloting our credit product in Tanzania, we have paused our lending operations and are undertaking a review of our operations to determine our path forward in the market,” read Tala Kenya’s statement.
As a consolation, the company reiterated that its Kenya operations remain unaffected.
“Our operations in Kenya continue uninterrupted as Kenya is a critical part of our global business. We are continuing to evolve our product to meet the needs of our 3 million customers here and are also piloting some exciting new offerings in financial education and coaching”.
Mobile lending apps have been getting heat from various concerned parties with citizens calling for regulation over high-interest rates, governments being keen on money laundering possibilities through the apps and even Google tightening its noose on what kind of lending apps it allows on Google Play Store.