NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has launched the Agent Banking proposition setting the pace for the provision of formal banking services at the grassroots.
Dubbed \’KCB Mtaani\’ this new development will enable the bank to reach over nine million un-banked Kenyans who have the capacity to engage in profitable banking relationships but do not have access to the formal banking infrastructure.
KCB Group Chief Executive Martin Oduor-Otieno said the bank would begin to roll out agency banking services to over 500 KCB Mtaani agents across the country that have already been approved by the Central Bank and trained by the bank.
"Over the next few years we envisage that the KCB agency banking network will have close to 5,000 operating agents spread across Kenya to give our customers easy accessibility and enhanced convenience," said the Chief Executive.
The bank has been piloting with 30 agents over the last two months recording over 200 successful transactions and expects to recruit over 2,000 agents across the country by the end of 2011.
CBK introduced agency banking to deepen financial inclusion by allowing banks to offer basic transactional services including cash deposits and withdrawal, and issuance of mini-bank statements through branchless banking.
The model is also aimed at reducing the cost of financial transactions and tap more into the un-banked population.
Mr Oduor-Otieno said KCB Mtaani is a cost-effective way for the bank to expand its reach without the necessity to invest in brick and mortar and will allow the bank to leverage on its technology platform to provide innovative banking products and services to all.
"At this initial stage, our agents will be connected to our agency banking platform through the KCB Connect and be equipped with a telephone set to facilitate deposit taking and withdrawals," he said.
All KCB customers must be registered with KCB Connect to be able to transact at agency outlets.
KCB\’s long term vision is to link its agents with its core banking system through the Internet banking proposition currently in pilot phase, point of sale terminals to enable them undertake such services as balance enquiries, loan repayments and requests for cheque books and account statements.
He said KCB would continue to scout for partners for this service delivery channel such as bookshops and grocery stores in line with the CBK regulations to promote inclusive banking and support Kenya\’s Vision 2030 objective to increase access to formal banking services in the country.
"We will continue to invent new ways of delivering our products and services in a manner that will endear the bank to its customers," he said.