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Postbank seeks review of mandate

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30- The Kenya Post Office Savings Bank (PostBank of Kenya) now wants its mandate to be expanded to enable it effectively compete in the financial services sector effectively.

Managing Director Nyambura Koigi said on Friday that they want to be a key player in the market and help increase access to the formal financial services to all Kenyans.

“Currently our mandate is to inculcate a savings culture among Kenyans and we do this through the various savings products we have. But we want this extended so that we can offer other services,” she said.

The bank was incorporated in 1978 to mobilize savings for national development, but retained the agency services of the then Kenya Posts and Telecommunications and now its successor Postal Corporation of Kenya.

The bank however welcomed Treasury’s decision to amend the Banking Act which will allow them to deal in foreign exchange business although the passing of the Finance Bill is still required to give them the go-ahead.

“We are looking forward to the passing of that bill because until that is done, we are not able to do it,” said Postbank’s Chairman Wilson Kinyua.

Mr Kinyua also said they want to be categorised differently to among other things enable them to attract and retain high calibre staff.

However, the chairman said they had taken various initiatives such as automation and deployment of ICT in their business and the rolling out of branchless banking in a bid to position them to survive the harsh economic conditions.

The two officials spoke during the launch of their product dubbed “Pamoja Savings Account” that is especially designed for investment groups.

Also present at the event, which also marked celebration for the World Thrift Day, was Finance Assistant Minister Dr Oburu Odinga who said the government targets to have at least 62 percent of the population brought into the formal sector.

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“Access to financial services is paramount to economic and social development as it opens a wide range of opportunities to the majority of Kenyans bringing them into the mainstream of finaical services,” he said.

A recent survey showed that 40 percent of the active population have access to formal finance while 27 have access to informal services. However 33 percent are still financial excluded emphasising the need for the sector to serve even more people.

Through the Vision 2030, the government also intends to grow the national savings from the current 17 percent of the GDP to 30 percent in the next 21 years.

“The government’s goal is to create a financial system that is inclusive, efficient and stable that will be promote high level of savings needed to finance our investments, create jobs and reduce poverty,” he added.

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