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It recently emerged that African communities struggle to gain access to credit despite excellent repayment history. The revelation was made by the UK based financial service provider, who found that despite having figures showing African customers to be some of the most reliable at repaying loans, they are still denied the facility.
Oakam, who have customers from over 126 countries, has hit out at banks that declined lending money to Africans insisting that customers from Africa rarely default on their repayments, but despite their credit worthiness, they still find it extremely difficult to obtain credit from mainstream banks especially if they just migrated to UK from African countries.
Speaking recently on this issue, the chief executive officer of Oakam, Frederic Nze said in a statement, “Access to credit is a real problem for so many people but it’s an essential part of how we cover unexpected expenses in the UK. Many house-hold purchases are beyond what people can afford in one go, cars, washing machines, back-to-school kit and other irregular purchases can be simply impossible to obtain without the help of a loan or credit card. It is especially hard for those on low incomes who have recently moved to UK.”
Nze, of African ancestry, added, ‘’At Oakam we take time to look at the person and not just the credit score, we also make sure that our customers’ repayments are logged with credit references agencies- helping them build their credit history for the future. It is especially hard for those people on low income or people who recently moved to UK.”
Banks defended their stance by stressing the fact that customers with virtually no credit history are simply too risky and as such it is virtually impossible to provide such people with any credit facility since they cannot vouch for their ability to pay such loans back. But this view was cast aside by Oakam CEO who reiterated the fact that such a hard stance must change totally, he insisted.
“The problem is that people cannot build a credit history unless someone lends to them and no-one will lend to someone unless they have a credit history,” said Nze. “This chicken and egg circle is broken by us, but other lenders need to follow our lead.”
Oakam further revealed that Africans caught under this draconic banking policy face higher charges for cheque cashing and utility bills making the financial strain even harder.
Oakam was established in 2006 and has been at the forefront of building exceptional customer relationships and rewarding good payment behaviour instead of penalising customers on missed statements.