Bank of Kigali Closes Nairobi Office, Emphasizes Digital Channels

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has revoked the authorization granted to the Bank of Kigali (BoK) which authorized it to operate its representative office in Kenya. The latest development comes after 11 years of the office’s establishment. BoK which is headquartered in Kigali, operates under the licensure and supervision of the National Bank of Rwanda and has a majority of its shares under the control of the Rwandan government while the remaining portion is divided among institutional and retail shareholders. Additionally, BoK is cross-listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Quick Summary:

  • The Central Bank of Kenya has revoked Bank of Kigali’s authorization to operate in Kenya.
  • Bank of Kigali’s parent company, Bank of Kigali Group Plc, is prioritizing digital service delivery channels instead.
  • Customers are increasingly favoring digital and mobile banking channels over traditional branch visits, as per the Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (2023) by the Kenya Bankers Association.

The decision to terminate BoK’s presence in Kenya is in line with a strategic initiative by Bank of Kigali Group Plc (BoK’s parent company) to intensify its focus on digital service delivery channels instead of the commonly known traditional methods. The shift reflects broader trends within the banking sector, where institutions are increasingly investing in digital platforms due to a decline in traditional branch visits.

According to the Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (2023) conducted by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), there has been a notable surge in the preference for digital and mobile banking channels over physical branch visits. For example, In 2023 mobile banking emerged as the most preferred channel among customers with a stunning preference rate of 69.9 percent which was up from 67.8 percent in the previous year. Internet banking followed closely as the second most preferred channel, with a preference rate of 24.6 percent, showing a slight increase from 23.3 percent in 2022.

The data from the survey also highlights a diminishing reliance on branch visits, with customer preference dropping to 19.6 percent in 2023 from 17.6 percent in 2022. Similarly, the preference for ATM services stood at 17.7 percent. These findings confirm the growing significance of digital banking solutions in meeting the evolving needs and preferences of customers. Safaricom’s MPESA mobile money service has since surged to become the main form of transacting in the country.


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