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Kenya Bankers Association: Transforming Kenyan Banking

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) leads the way in its advocacy for developing and championing the banking industry in Kenya through its support across local and international financial sectors. KBA aims to help the banking industry and financial sector through innovative technological advancements and strong ethics. As the umbrella body working on behalf of its banks and microfinance banks, KBA now represents a total asset of USD 60 billion across Kenya. Therefore, it is no wonder why KBA strives ahead with its operations to constantly improve and regulate the financial sector to ensure that the hard-earned money and resources of Kenyans are protected securely by the association member banks.  

Founded in July 1962 by the Registrar of Trade Unions, KBA was established to help its member banks to negotiate terms and conditions of the service of its unionized employees, whilst attempting to input standardized management practices for consistency and regulation throughout the industry. Over time the role of the KBA has evolved and broadened, now to include its role in developing the industry towards economic growth. The KBA facilitates their expanding role by working with the government and developing sector regulations set by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). Now the KBA has a new ambition statement which summarises its role in the financial and banking industry: ‘One Industry. Transforming Kenya’.  

The KBA currently represents 47 members across the country, all of which are held to a high and professional standard of banking, so that Kenyans know that the banks under the KBA governing body are ones to trust. KBA continues to ensure the safety of its customers by running various campaigns to ensure financial safety awareness is always a priority. One prominent campaign is their ATM safety awareness campaign ‘Kaa Chonjo!’. The campaign seeks to empower its consumers with the secure use of online, mobile and card transactions. Therefore, as an overarching company KBA are ensuring that the customer’s security and faith in the KBA members is a key priority. The campaign hopes to contribute towards alleviating fraud throughout the financial sector. Furthermore, they ensure the safety of transactions for their banks by enhancing the security of transaction channels to reduce the risk of them being subjected to fraud.  

KBA continues to innovate the transaction channels of its customers in a recent upgrade of the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system to the ISO 20022 Standard. The upgraded system will provide opportunities for banks and other financial sector players by facilitating the efficient transfer of payments. It will provide a platform for global interoperability of payments, which will innovate services and reduce time on cheque clearing considerably. This upgrade comes as part of KBA’s strategic plan between 2019 and 2023 to facilitate more efficient and affordable financial services through advancing its technological innovations. KBA’s adoption of this will not only enhance the payment insights for its members, but it will support the banks’ risk management initiatives, which in turn will inform the policy decisions in the future towards a more responsive financial sector.  

KBA aims to be the voice of banking across Kenya by being a leader in innovation throughout the financial sector. They plan to do this by reinforcing the industry’s ability to be a primary driver of economic development as they innovate their operations towards economic success through research and analysis. The KBA has established The Center for Research on Financial Markets and Policy which aims to research and providing key commentary on critical policy matters that impact the financial markets in Kenya. The research centre communicates with key financial market experts, the banking sector, and the policymakers in Kenya towards a future of success.  

Overall, KBA leads the way in its innovation towards facilitating highly secure and reliable banking services throughout its association members. The regulation of these members places the Kenyan financial sector in line with global leaders, whilst ensuring technological advancements allow them to manage funds both locally and internationally in a much more efficient way. Therefore, KBA’s operations ensure that the financial sector of Kenya is flourishing, all the while their customers feel safe using a bank under their association due to its reputation of leadership, innovation, knowledge, and strong ethics.