#DebtOfShame: How rogue digital lenders use unorthodox tactics to recover loans

Loans are debtors’ most reliable assets. They’re easy to deal with, easy to liquidate, and easy to track. But lenders increasingly use increasingly creative means to collect loans—mechanisms that typically rely on outside assistance. These methods include buying loans in batches, offering discounted interest rates, leaking information about borrowers’ creditworthiness, and even impersonating a borrower on social media.

This is the experience many Kenyans have faced since the proliferation of mobile loan apps nearly 10 years ago, and for one Nairobi pastor, his experience lasted nearly three days.

Whilst mobile apps have provided credit options for consumers at the bottom of the financial pyramid, the accompanying debt shaming is casting a shadow on the dream of financial inclusivity.

Pastor John Kimani Ngure recently found himself on the receiving end of an unrelenting debt collector keen to collect on a loan that one of his congregants took.

“Nilipigiwa simu na mtu akajitambulisha kwamba anatoka mojawapo ya hizi kampuni na akaniambia kuna mshirika amechukua loan na amekosa kulipa wakati waliyokubaliana,” said Pastor Kimani.