Absa Nairobi branch (PHOTO:Wilberforce Okwiri)

Absa Bank has said it will invest more than Sh1.6 billion in technology to enhance service delivery.

Speaking during a media briefing at the bank’s Queensway branch in Nairobi yesterday, Absa Managing Director Jeremy Awori said delivering a differentiated customer experience remains at the core of the bank’s growth, transformation and returns strategy.

“In the next year, we will be rolling out over 60 different technology projects, all aimed at transforming our customer experience,” said Awori.

First anniversary

Absa Bank, formerly Barclays Bank of Kenya, was celebrating its first anniversary in the Kenyan market after rebranding.

Some of the changes include automation of the lender’s loan top-up process to allow customers to apply and increase their existing credit within 15 minutes.

“We will also be rolling out a fully-fledged online business banking platform among other exciting innovations across our business segments,” Awori said.

The bank embarked on a brand transition four years ago, and said the need to transform has been catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Awori said most of the bank’s customers who have gone digital during the pandemic would most likely not go back to the branch. 

Last year, the bank instituted financial relief measures across its various customer segments to help them navigate through the adverse effects of the disease. The initiative included loan relief and restructures valued at Sh62 billion, equivalent to a third of Absa’s credit portfolio, and covered 59,000 accounts.

“As we celebrate our first anniversary, we recognise that the pandemic continues to threaten the survival of small and medium businesses (SMEs), which are major sources of employment and account for about 40 per cent of our gross domestic product (GDP),” Awori said.

“We are committed to supporting women in business, particularly those in the SMEs sector, with a campaign we hope to run across sub-Saharan Africa.”

The bank also introduced an Absa One, which comes with no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, and offers unsecured loans of up to Sh6 million for individuals and Sh10 million for businesses, as well as a 0.5 per cent cashback reward on ATM and debit card transactions.

Absa Chairman Charles Muchene lauded customers and staff for walking with the 104-year old business through its rebranding journey.

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