Absa Bank Kenya on Wednesday, February 10 marked its one year anniversary in the Kenyan market.
A low-key event was held at Absa’s new Queensway Branch in Nairobi to celebrate the occasion, with CEO Jeremy Awori and Board Chairman Charles Muchene among those in attendance. The firm highlighted challenges, achievements and milestones in its brand transition journey so far and disclosed strategic plans for 2021.
Notably, Awori revealed that Absa planned to pump Ksh1.6 billion into technology in a bid to enhance customer experience. Among other things, the bank is set to introduce an instant loan top-up service allowing borrowers to take on more debt at the touch of a button provided they meet certain requirements.
Awori also confirmed that Absa would launch a new digital banking service for businesses “in the next few weeks”. He further reiterated the bank’s commitment to supporting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), hailing the key role they play in keeping the wheels of the economy turning.
“Over the next year, we will be investing around 1.6 billion shillings in over 60 different technology projects, all aimed at transforming our customer experience,” the CEO noted.
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated innovation in financial technologies by institutions, as well as adoption of the technologies by their customers.
Absa also noted that it would continue supporting the youth by enabling them to engage in sustainable income-generating activities.
Chairman Muchene asserted that backing Kenya’s youth was “the only way to future-proof our economy”.
In the past year, Absa restructured loans for 59,000 customers – worth Ksh62 billion, to support individuals, families and businesses impacted by the pandemic. The restructured loans were equivalent to a third of Absa’s portfolio.
It introduced new products – such as the Absa vertical debit and credit cards and revamped their SME Wezesha Biashara offering to play a greater role in supporting small business. It partnered with Kenyans on commendable social enterprise projects – including financing differently abled individuals in Bombolulu, Mombasa to produce and supply face masks at the height of the pandemic.
All its branches across the country remained open and fully operational, even as the firm adapted to the pandemic and introduced measures to keep customers and staff safe.
Awori stated that Absa had been obsessed with its customers since the brand change. He expressed high hopes for greater success in 2021, particularly with the ongoing global distribution of vaccines.
“The Covid-19 vaccine news is encouraging for the banking community,” he noted, observing that an effective vaccine distribution drive would result in the easing of various government restrictions thus spurring economic growth.