Kenyan banks shift head offices outside town to trim uneconomical space

Banks are relocating their headquarters out of town as growth of mobile banking means customers no longer need to walk into the branches.

Ecobank, Kenya Commercial Bank and Jamii Bora are at different levels of evacuating their core staffers from Nairobi’s Central Business District to the Upper Hill area that also affords them easier access to corporate clients.

Retail customers will, however, have the option of smaller branches but are increasingly being encouraged to embrace mobile banking.

Online, mobile phone and agency banking have seen banking hall traffic slow down, making huge branch space uneconomical. Several banks have closed some branches in cost-cutting efforts. Bank of Africa has announced closure of about a third of its branches while Ecobank, which operates in 36 countries, announced plans to reduce the number of its physical branches in Kenya by a third, having closed nine branches so far.

Ecobank relocated from Muindi Mbingu Street to Westlands, putting the city building under the hammer. The building, Ecobank Towers, has reportedly been sold to a Kenyan politician although the bank’s directors refused to divulge the identity of the buyer or the value of the sale.

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