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Kenyan banks rush to keep up with innovation

Kenya , 05 Jun 2018

Kenyan banks rush to keep up with innovation

Kenyan banks are adopting new technology platforms to engage customers immediately and this is paying off says Jeremy Awori, CEO of Barclays Bank Kenya.

Barclays Bank Kenya is the latest institution to tap into growing interest in mobile platforms and recently launched its banking app, Timiza, in collaboration with Safaricom and Craft Silicon. The app provides banking services such as money transfers, but also doubles as a micro loan platform.

"It was hard for Barclays to get to one million customers but once we launched the Timiza app, we got 2 million users within two months," said Awori at the Finnovation Kenya Summit held recently in Nairobi.

Micro lender Okash, under Opera's Opay payment platform, has enjoyed rapid growth and currently processes Kshs 10m worth of loans per day, just two months after its pilot phase.

Similar offerings like Tala and Branch have also experienced growth in their respective customer bases.

Equity Bank has witnessed a 75% spike in mobile banking in Q1 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. Its mobile strategy includes Equitel and Eazzy Banking Apps. Tee bank currently processes 600,000 transactions daily.

The surge in mobile banking has resulted in the Bank closing some ATM branches.

Maxwell Onyango, finance manager at Technology Associates East Africa, a company that deals with ATM installations, told ITWeb Africa that business has been slow over the past year as banks move away from ATM installations.

This was largely because of the mass adoption of mobile banking, he said.

Other technologies that have made an impact on the market include robotic process automation or systems that can read, learn and complete repetitive processes improving on accuracy.

"We introduced robotic processes and we can do transaction in a fraction of time in a much higher controlled time and we do not have variation of human error," said Barclays' Awori

"The opportunity is to give convenience and speed to the customer and from the banking perspective have a return for the shareholders," he added. "There are immense opportunities for innovation within the banking space."

A report from Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) identified Kenya as one of the growing spaces in FinTech solutions, with specific reference to the country's mature mobile money ecosystem.

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