One Industry. Transforming Kenya

Banking Sector to Continue Playing Key Role In Post-Covid Economic Recovery

Nairobi 24th September 2021 - The banking sector will continue to play a key role in steering economic recovery in the wake of adverse economic effects occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking during the third and final day of the Kenya Bankers Association Annual Banking Research Conference, KBA Vice Chair Ms. Rebecca Mbithi noted that following the recent economic downturn the banking sector is now best placed to take centre-stage and steer economic recovery.

Ms. Mbithi however noted that the stability of the banking sector does not imply immunity to economic crises and shocks, adding that crises and shocks present risks that call for proactive mitigation plans.

"The mitigating measures against the effects of the pandemic taken by the banking industry that were fast and decisive, trickled down to provide liquidity support to cushion institutions, small and medium enterprises as well as households through the difficult times of the pandemic. This shows that we built a resilient sector with adequate capital and liquidity buffers, that remained strong to support businesses navigate the adversities associated with COVID-19 without compromising systemic stability," said Ms. Mbithi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Family Bank.

The three-day conference, which kicked-off on Wednesday this week and closed today, featured presentations of eight papers that sought to explore opportunities and pathways of enhancing the banking industry's role in steering economic recovery in light of the COVID-19 disruption.

In his remarks during the convention's closing session, KBA CEO Dr. Habil Olaka noted that the conference was an important platform for discussion of ideas among the banking sector players, necessary for anchoring the sector's role in the economy.

"The clarion call throughout this conference has been the need to explore avenues to build and sustain resilience even as we continue to seek a lasting solution to the pandemic. To this end, there have been discussions around enhancing both structural and operational efficiency as a pathway to reducing operational costs, besides enhancing customer experience. The digital readiness of the industry which has been instrumental in preventing the health crisis from degenerating into a financial crisis, is particularly noteworthy," said Dr. Olaka.

This year's conference marked the 10th anniversary of the forum, bringing together researchers, financial sector players, policymakers, and academia. Among the institutions represented in the conference included the KBA Centre for Research on Financial Markets and Policy, Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA), Strathmore University, Embu University, NCBA Bank, KCB Group, and the Central Bank of Kenya.

About the Kenya Bankers Association:

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) is an industry association aimed at catering for the interests of the member banks as well as promoting industry development and sustainable economic growth by engaging the government and the primary sector regulators, namely National Treasury, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA).

To reinforce the banking industry's ability to be a primary driver of the economy's sustainable economic development aspiration, the mandate of the Association was redefined and enshrined in the KBA 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The core focus was broadened to include lobbying and advocacy, and championing industry development and innovation by coordinating the members and partnering with stakeholders on strategic initiatives, including Research.

As the umbrella body of the institutions licensed and regulated by CBK with a current membership of 45 financial institutions representing total assets in excess of USD 37 billion, KBA continues to reinforce a reputable and professional banking sector in a bid to best support Kenyans, who entrust their ambitions and hard-earned resources with its member banks.

About KBA Annual Research Conference

The Kenya Bankers Association Research Conference is an annual forum organized by the KBA Centre for Research on Financial Markets and Policy. During the forum, KBA hosts dialogues and conferences involving scholars and practitioners on key financial market issues.

Through the Conference, the Centre acts as a platform for intellectual engagement and dialogue between financial market experts, the banking sector, and the policy makers in Kenya. It therefore contributes to an informed discussion that influences critical financial market debates and policies.

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