Family Bank shakes up executive team to tap new business

Family Bank chairman Titus Muya addresses investors. The bank’s marketshare is 1.4 per cent. William Oeri
Family Bank chairman Titus Muya (right) and chief executive Peter Munyiri (left) at a meeting with investors in August 2011. The bank has recruited at least 10 C-level executives and heads of departments from rival banks to handle corporate, treasury, mortgage, and agency banking functions. William Oeri | File 

Family Bank has widened its executive suite as its new CEO, Mr Peter Munyiri, seeks fresh ideas and talent to grow market share and enter new business lines.

The bank has modelled its business around micro-finance, but is now seeking to widen its offering to include home loans and corporate banking which offer big ticket lending at relatively lower cost. The bank has poached at least 10 C-level executives and heads of departments from rival banks since Mr Munyiri was hired in June to handle its corporate, treasury, mortgage, and agency banking functions.

Mr David Thuo, formerly group treasurer at Kenya Commercial Bank, has been appointed head of Treasury, Mr George Laboso as the chief of mortgage having served as head of sales in KCB’s home loans division, while Mr Samuel Burnei is the chief of micro-finance.

Other executives include Mr Apollo Ongara, chief of credit and formerly a risk executive at Barclays Bank, Mr Timothy Kihiko, corporate banking chief, Mr Steve Gakuya (agency banking), and Ms Ruth Murage, chief of institutional banking. Mr Munyiri says the new team will help the bank to pursue growth in the retail market while seeking a slice of the corporate market that is dominated by big banks like Barclays, KCB, Standard Chartered and Equity.

“We’ve hired people with experience that will allow us take the war to the doorstep of banks that have been cross-selling to our customers,” said Mr Munyiri. “Our customers have been seeking other banking services from our rivals, this will stop and we will exploit our strengths such as our vast branch network.”

The bank, whose products have targeted the low end of the market, has been aggressive in the market ever since a consortium of investors including PE fund AfricInvest, FMO of the Netherlands, and Norway’s Norfund bought a 22.4 per cent stake for Sh916 million last October. The cash was used to boost its IT infrastructure and shore up its capital base to enable it tap into mega lending deals in the lucrative homes market and corporate banking. The new owners also got three seats on the bank’s board with the new directors being instrumental in boosting its profile.

Capital base
A stronger Family Bank is looking at lending more to companies and big ticket projects in the property market to grow its lending book and push it to the top tier of Kenya’s banking sector.

Central Bank of Kenya places its market share at 1.4 per cent compared to KCB (13.9 per cent), Barclays (10.7 per cent), and Equity (9.49 per cent).

The bank is tapping former executives of top tier banks as it seeks to replicate their business model in what could raise the stakes in the lending market.

Human capital has become the most sought after resource for market share growth in Kenya’s banking industry where business ideas are being copied with speed, sparking a talent war.

Family Bank has been modelling its strategy on that of Equity Bank, which has upset Kenya’s conservative financial sector with the rollout of products that are popular with the low end of the market which has traditionally been considered high risk.