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How to couple innovation and sustainability in the East Africa retail banking environment

East Africa has experienced significant economic growth in the recent years however at the end of 2015 the growth has slowed. Despite the economic slowdown the banking sectorhas grown by 6%, the credit lending from commercial banks has doubled this year at a rate of almost 30% as compared to 14.6% growth at the same period last year.

The Kenya Banking Association has implemented the Sustainable Finance Initiative guiding principles in March of 2015 focusing on growing a viable financial services industry by managing risk as well as capitalising on innovation.Banks need to decide if they want compete or collaborate with the non-traditional players/disruptors in the industry?

Banks in Kenya have seen double digit growth in their balance sheets largely contributed to loans and advances. Diversification into new revenue streams and a strong risk culture across the bank will be required in order to grow the asset book at an acceptable rate. The SME lending space has experienced rapid growth which must be accompanied by a strong risk management for sustainable growth.

East African regulators are encouraging a shift towards a cashless society in their efforts to promote financial inclusion. Crucial steps are being taken to promote and regulate branchless banking and agency banking payments in the region. In order to capture the new wave of innovation, banks must have the internal infrastructure in place that is agile and flexible for quick time to market on new products and services. The innovations from non-traditional competitors mean banks will have to position their product portfolios as a value add service to the customers who have multiple outlets for payment solutions.

The Asian Banker will be organising the 2nd Annual International Retail Banking Dialoguein Nairobi, Kenyato discuss key trends and challenges faced by decision makers in the East Africa retail banking landscape.

This dialogue will focus broadly on the following goals:

  • Identifying benchmarks and best practices in emanating from different regions
  • Managing risks while catering the demands of retail and business banking customers
  • Building a competitive retail banking environment
  • Discussing the next wave in innovation and payments

The dialogue will bring together an advisory panel from other parts of the world who will contribute their own insights into the experiences of leading decision makers in the region.

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