Posted by:  Zipporah Gikonyo   On   September 05, 2018


The mention of the word CRB sends a cold chill down your spinal code when you remember a friend’s experience of getting a clearance certificate so as to procure an emergency credit facility.  The look of panic on his/ her face when he or she was told that due to an outstanding loan facility in arrears, getting the funds to be credited to his/ her bank account would not be possible.

What is a CRB?

This a firm collecting information from various businesses that have had a financial relationship with you as well as providing consumer credit information on the individuals borrowing and bill paying habits.

Around the world these firms are known by various names: In the US the firms are called credit bureaus, in the United Kingdom, a credit reference agency, while in Kenya it is a credit reference bureau.


Credit Reference Bureau provides information through a central platform accessed by commercial banks, saving and credit co-operative societies (Saccos) and other microfinance institutions to assess the borrowers’ ability to pay back a loan.


Credit Reference Bureaus are regularized by the Central Bank of Kenya.

How does a CRB help Lenders and borrowers?

  • Serves as a debt recovery tool. Individuals listed as defaulters in the CRB rarely access new credit facilities without having to pay-off the old debt.

  • Reduces the rates of default or bad debts.

  • It helps in risk assessment or checking the character of a borrower.

  • It locks out serial defaulters who have borrowed from multiple lenders and defaulted.

  • Customers with a good reputation or Credit score can easily obtain credit at a lower rate of interest. This is by way of a risk based pricing facilitated by the CRB report.

  • The CRB reports instills discipline on borrowers as well as would be borrowers.

  • Cultivates a culture of repayment of borrowed funds as it can be very punitive to find your name with an unfavorable rating.

  • Reduces chances of over-indebtedness for the customer or lender.

  • Run away defaulters are easily traced by lenders.

How does an established Credit Reference Bureau system benefit the economy?

  • A more stable and predictable financial sector. The risk of having bad debts is reduces.

  • Over indebtedness as well default on the part of the borrowers is levels have reduced.

  • Efficiency in financial intermediation is established.

  • Increase in private sector lending as the bankers and other financial intermediaries are able to better price their products through risk based pricing. 

  • Creation of jobs due to increase number of lenders in the economy.

  • Improved access to lending as identification of good borrowers is encouraged.


I hope you are now better informed as to what is a Credit Reference Bureau and understand that it is not an enemy but a friend.


To obtain your CRB Report and Clearance certificate here is a step by step guideline.

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