Equity Bank Managing Director Gerald Warui, KBA CEO Dr. Habil Olaka, Central Bank of Kenya Deputy Governor Sheila M'Mbijjewe, Kenya Bankers Association Governing Council Chair and NCBA Bank Managing Director John Gachora and SBM Bank CEO Moezz Mir during the opening of the 10th KBA Annual Banking Research Conference.
Equity Bank Managing Director Gerald Warui, KBA CEO Dr. Habil Olaka, Central Bank of Kenya Deputy Governor Sheila M'Mbijjewe, Kenya Bankers Association Governing Council Chair and NCBA Bank Managing Director John Gachora and SBM Bank CEO Moezz Mir during the opening of the 10th KBA Annual Banking Research Conference. [Photo/ Courtesy]

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) believes that the banking sector will continue to play a key role in steering economic recovery in the wake of adverse economic effects occasioned by the COVID19 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 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.

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