Nairobi Star: KCB puts brakes on its expansion plans

KENYA Commercial Bank is now slowing down on its breakneck expansion strategy to concentrate on exploiting the expansive footprint it has established in the region.

Only the very new markets such as Rwanda and Uganda will continue seeing new branches at the rate which has seen KCB virtually double the number of branches on its network over the last two years.

The bank has 185 branches, by far the largest in the region, and over Sh 171 billion in assets, making it also the largest bank in Kenya in that category.

KCB has been expanding rapidly with new branches being built in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.

According to management, focus will now shift to making the branches profitable by setting targets for the managers.

In a bold statement, the bank now says it is looking to lead in earning, a direct challenge to Barclay's Bank which has been raking in huge profits .

"We now have in place the necessary business supporting systems to meet our various needs, all of them state of the art and with immense capability," KCB Group chairman Peter Muthoka said during the bank's re-launch of its mobile banking platform yesterday.

"Our focus is now to make this network deliver results for our shareholders so that KCB can also stake claim to leadership in terms of profitability."

KCB has in the past year overtaken Barclays in virtually all categories including customers' deposits and loan book size.

And while its expansion has outpaced rivals, the new branches, except for Southern Sudan, are yet to begin contributing to profits. Southern Sudan has, however, continued to defy expectations returning huge profits.

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