NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Outgoing National Bank of Kenya Managing Director Reuben Marambii says he is proud for turning around the debt-ridden bank’s fortunes in his 14-year tenure.
Marambii attended the bank’s 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday, his final at the helm, having returned it to a growth path from major losses in the late 1990s.
“When I went into National Bank it was more or less that we would close it up. I was (seconded from) the Central Bank and was aware of the problems there. However, after three months we were sure that we could turn it around and it has taken about 10 years to do that,” he said.
He said when he first joined the bank the biggest problem was deposits that at the time stood at Sh12 billion, which were salvaged by a Sh4.5 billion injection from the government.
Since then, Marambii has seen the bank’s deposit base grow to Sh56.7 billion in last year’s financial results and total assets stand at Sh68.7 billion.
“When I was at the Central Bank every bank we went into, was to close. I wondered if there was a bank we could turn around because we closed very many institutions. I think because we went in (to NBK) early it helped,” he said.
Marambii’s successor, Munir Sheikh Ahmed, who has had experience in the banking industry in the UK and southern Africa said he is buoyant about the bank’s future and growing its profile locally.
“The reason for my recruitment was to transform the bank. It’s got a balance sheet I think I can use to take it to the next level. My intention is to make it one of the top five banks in the country in the next three to five years,” he said.
Marambii advised his successor to focus on regional expansion, agency banking and staff training as key areas moving forward.
With the Bank’s ambitious strategy to be have a branch in every county; four are in the pipeline to be launched in Kericho, Garissa, Bomet and Thika.
“We have targeted to open 10 branches this year and go full blast on agency banking. On the cost to income ratio, we want to look at the best way to expand, while maintaining costs at reasonable rates within the industry,” NBK Chairman Mohamed Abdirahman Hassan said.
During the AGM held on Friday, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli was re-elected to the Board along with National Social Security Fund acting Managing Trustee Tom Odongo.
The Bank’s Board of Directors recommended a first dividend of Sh0.40 per share to the holders of the ordinary and Preference shares and a further Sh0.15 per share to the holders of Preference shares.