By Elijah Odhiambo
The KCB Group is planning to broaden its territory in the East African region in an effort to deepen its lead on physical locations by opening 12 new branches in Kenya and Tanzania this year.
In the move that that will see the group’s branches in the region surpass 500 mark, the new branches will be opened equally in the two countries.
According to the KCB Group Managing Director, Paul Russo, out of the 12 branches set for opening, six will be in Kenya while the other half will be in Tanzania.
“We already have the approval to open six branches in Kenya and six more in Tanzania this year,” Russo said adding that the move will help the lender reach more customers in these markets.
Speaking in an interview with Business Daily, the KCB boss said the group is keen on maximizing on the Tanzanian market, noting that they are ready to take any investment opportunity that comes in the country.
He described the move of its expansion of branches as a two-pronged approach to pursue opportunities as well as scale up.
“Tanzania is a market we are still keen on. If an opportunity comes, we will take it. We are going ahead to open six branches in Tanzania this year. So it is a two-pronged approach, to pursue opportunities as well as scale up,” Mr Russo said.
“Numbers in KCB Tanzania have been up in the last six years. For that size of a market, you need more presence by building an ecosystem of both digital and physical location, ” he added.
As of September last year, KCB branches stood at 498. The 12 new branches will push its total network to Ksh510.
The planned expansion of branches comes barely a week since the bank contracted Sopra Banking Software to design, build, deliver, and support the savings and lending products portfolio through the KCB Vooma, the Bank’s lending, savings, and payments platform.
With the rollout of payments, savings, loan products, and the migration of KCB M-PESA and KCB Mobile loan products to the Sopra Banking Platform, KCB has disbursed over 40 million loans worth Ksh332 billion (US$ 3 billion) to 11 million customers from October 2018 to December 2022.
Sopra Banking Software was on boarded in 2020 when the bank embarked on the ambitious implementation of the Vooma mobile wallet that allows customers to pay for goods and services, get loans and save money via their mobile phones on any network.
KCB has identified Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as a key focus area going forward and the Bank is targeting to double the loan book in this sector by 2023, not only in Kenya but across all its subsidiaries in the group.