Bank agents transactions hit Sh1trn all-time high as more outlets open

The volumes transacted by agents of commercial banks in the three months to the end of September rose by Sh70 billion to hit the Sh1 trillion mark for the first time.

At the same time the number of agents rose to 39,871 from 36,080 at the end of June with the number of banks involved remaining at 17, according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

“As at September 30, 2015, there were 17 commercial banks that had contracted 39,871 agents which had facilitated over 193.4 million cumulative transactions valued at Sh1 trillion,” said the CBK.

The number of transactions rose from 175.4 million valued at Sh930.1 billion carried out in the quarter ending June 30.

Equity Bank, while releasing financial results for the third quarter recently, said growth in the business done by banking agents had grown so large that they were now contributing over 50 per cent of all bank cash transactions thereby exceeding customers’ cash transactions processed in branches and ATMs combined.

“Agency banking has seen the number of operational agents contributing 50.4 per cent of all bank cash transactions, exceeding customers’ cash transactions processed in branches and ATMs combined,” said the bank.

NGO Financial Sector Deepening Survey (FSD) Trust recently conducted a survey mapping out bank and insurance agents as well as mobile money transfer service kiosks — collectively known as service points — showing an increase by 33 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

READ: Mobile and banking agents lift financial outlets by 33pc

“The Kenya financial inclusion landscape has undergone considerable transformation. This is as a result of improved infrastructure, technological innovation, institutional developments as well as financial system policy and regulatory reforms,” says the FSD report.

The CBK report also revealed that as at the end of the September, the 12 microfinance banks (MFBs) in operation had issued loans and aances worth Sh46.1 billion compared to Sh43.3 billion as at the end of June, translating into growth of 6.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the deposit base of the MFBs declined at the end of third quarter by 1.3 per cent to S9.2 billion from S9.7 billion at the end of June.