Kenya’s Largest Bank, KCB, Lays Off Workers as it Increases Investments in Digital Channels

Over 88% of all Transactions in 2018 were Outside the Branch with Mobile Being a Key Channel - KCB
Picture courtesy of NMG

The Kenya Commercial Bank, KCB, the largest bank in Kenya and operating in six East African countries, is laying off workers as it moves to invest more in digital outlets.

According to the bank CEO, Joshua Oigara, more layoffs are expected as banks increasingly move towards more digital offerings in line with customer demands and expectations.

“For efficiency, we will see less and less jobs in the industry. In reality, as we build much more investments in our digital channels and agencies, we will see fewer jobs in our establishments.” – Joshua Oigara, CEO, KCB.

The bank is looking to increase investments in small businesses through its digital 2Jiajiri program aimed at catalyzing job and wealth creation for at least two million youth engaged in the informal sector within eastern Africa.

Earlier this year, KCB had announced that over 88% of all KCB transactions are performed outside the branch with a 27% growth in non-branch revenue. This amazing growth was largely fueled by digital channels which saw the bank’s net profit jump by 22 percent in 2018.

The bank recently reported a half year 2019 net profit of KES 12.7B with digital channels, in particular, KCB M-PESA, significantly powering this huge profit jump. The bank also noted that cost management initiatives by implementing the IFRS 9 had a huge impact on its bottom line.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has similarly warned that the industry was likely going to be affected as traditional lenders adopt financial technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence in their operations.

Other banks that have reported on expected reduction in headcount in what is referred as redundancy due to digitization include StanBic Bank, National Bank of Kenya, Standard Chartered Bank, Equity Group, and Barclays Bank.


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