NAIROBI, KENYA: Mobile banking is allowing banks to relocate their head offices out of town as customers no longer need to walk into the mother branches.
Ecobank, Kenya Commercial Bank and Jamii Bora are at different levels of evacuating their core staffers from Nairobi's Central Bank District to the upper hill area that also affords them easier access to their corporate clients.
Retail customers will however have the option of smaller branches but are increasingly being encouraged to embrace the mobile phone branch.
Ecobank relocated from Muindi Mbingu to Westlands putting the city building under hammer. The building has been reportedly sold to a Kenyan politician although Ecobank Directors refused to divulge the identity of the buyer or the value of the sale.
"That one yes we moved out and we sold. We just wanted to move out of the central business district because of traffic and our customers were complaining, we listen to our customers a lot. Because of that we did not have use of the facility anymore so we just disposed it," said Samuel Adjei, the Ecobank managing director for Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.
"I think we should also be sensitive to the buyer of the property, a private person doing his business, I think it would be unfair say how much we sold it. We just want to allow the buyer to have his peace of mind," he added.
He said that the sale will not be reflected here because the property did not belong to Ecobank Kenya since the Kenyan subsidiary never spent its money, the group office brought its money in and bought the building.
Jamii Bora who in a notice in the dailies yesterday said they would be moving to Jamii Bora Towers in Argwings Kodhek has also said it will sell the branch on Koinange Street.
KCB Plaza in Upperhill has also started accommodating part of the Bank's departments who have been hiking the Nairobi Hill since late last year.
Thrust of online, mobile phone and agency banking has seen banking hall traffic slow down making huge brick and mortar space uneconomic.
Several Banks have closed most of their branches in a cost cutting binge that saw six lenders announjce staff cuts and closure of some branches.
Bank of Africa has announced closure of about a third of its branches in Kenya while Ecobank, which operates in 36 countries, announced plans to reduce the number of its physical branches in Kenya by a third having closed 9 branches.