Kenya Co-op bank employs more staff on digital platform

Kenya's fast expanding Cooperative Bank has hired an additional 182 employees joining a few lenders to expand its workforce at a time most institutions have been reducing their staff.
The new hiring raised the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed lender’s staff count to 4,251, the highest in three years. Its branch network increased to 155 in the review period from 148 the year before, necessitating the recruitment of more employees.
Kenya Co-op Bank Chief Executive Dr. Gideon Muriuki told the Workers Eye that the lender had already optimized staff numbers following the McKinsey - advised transformation programme initiated in 2014 and will, therefore, not cut staff size in the wake of rate cap and increased uptake of digital banking.
“Our staff numbers have remained stable and rising as the transformation agenda has since 2014 helped us build a lean and frugal business model that is supported by optimal staff numbers,” Mr Muriuki said.
Co-op Bank opened new outlets in Litein, Emali, Makongeni and Utawala last year. Dr Muriuki says three more branches will be opened this year including in Chogoria and Kapenguria.
“We are still opening carefully-selected physical outlets as we believe there is no one single channel that will displace all others, rather, it’s the investment in an optimal and balanced multichannel strategy,” he said.
Most banks, led by Equity Group and KCB Group, have, however, trimmed their staff count by hundreds of workers partly due to increased outsourcing and automation of banking services. Increased uptake of agency and digital banking platforms is expected to help banks keep their staff costs low going forward.
Meanwhile Cooperative Bank of Kenya plans to build on its investment of Ksh 305.5 million in its South Sudan subsidiary .
The extra capital provided to Co-op Bank South Sudan, its only subsidiary in the region, brings the cumulative investment in the unit to Sh2.2 billion.
Coop Bank invested Ksh1.5 billion to set up the subsidiary in 2013, acquiring a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture that saw the government of South Sudan take up the remaining 49 per cent equity.
Co-op has so far invested an additional Kshs 700 million in the unit, indicating increased need for capital at the subsidiary which became profitable last year.

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