Kenya’s Biggest Bank Bets on Digital Payments for Growth

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KCB Group Plc, Kenya’s biggest bank by assets, is in talks to form digital payment partnerships to expand revenue streams, Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said.

“We have to go beyond lending,” Oigara said in an interview in the capital, Nairobi. KCB is looking for partnerships for its mobile wallet, he said.

The Nairobi-based lender is seeking increased revenue after net income in the year through December fell 22%, the first drop in 11 years. The bank also lost more than two billion shillings ($18.2 million) because of a waiver on charges for mobile-based transactions between banks and customers as part of the country’s coronavirus relief measures.

The lender already has a partnership with Kenya’s biggest company by market value, Safaricom Plc, with a mobile-based overdraft facility that transacts almost 1 billion shillings a day, according to Oigara. The service has overtaken mobile banking platform KCB M-Pesa, where transactions fell 50% from 125 billion shillings a year earlier, he said.

Ramp Up

Mobile money usage has surged in Kenya with the monthly volume of person-to-person transactions increasing by 87% February through October 2020, according to central bank data.

“We do expect that 20% of our revenue in the next two years will come from the digital platform,” he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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