Ecobank to close 9 branches in consolidation move

West African lender Ecobank Kenya is set to shut down nine branches as it focuses on digital banking to cut costs.

This comes as the banking sector quickly realigns in the face of shrinking income as the government moved to cap interest rates at four percent of the central bank rate (CBR).

Branches lined up for closure include those at Chambers, Ongata Rongai, Gikomba, Embakasi, Thika Road Mall, Meru, Kitale, Busia and Malindi, with the bank expected to conclude the excise by April 2017.

This will leave Ecobank with 20 active branches across the country.

The scaling down comes at a time the Togolese bank has been reviewing its operations in 36 markets with the focus now shifting to alternative banking channels.

The bank has designed the Ecobank Mobile app set to be introduce into the market by the end of November to offer banking services.

Ecobank Kenya Managing Director Sam Adjei said the bank would also boost its alternative channels such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Points of Sale, Internet banking and agency banking to serve customers.

“We are focusing more on innovation and technology for delivery of our products and services to our customers in an easy and convenient way whenever and wherever they are,” Mr Adjei said.

Customers affected by the closure of branches will be able to make deposits and pay loan installments through the pay bill service or visit branches that will remain open.

The scaling back is expected to lead to job cuts with the bank indicating that a few would be reabsorbed while other positions would be declared redundant.

The Bank has also put up its Ecobank Towers up for sale, as it moves its corporate headquarters to Westlands. The bank will however maintain its branch at the building.

Equity Bank earlier in the month announced that it would freeze branch expansion and instead focus on digital and mobile banking.

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