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Co-op’s Muriuki named 2021’s best African banker

Gideon Muriuki.

Co-operative Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki. PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Co-op Bank boss Gideon Muriuki has been named “CEO of the Year” in the 2021 African Banking Awards by the EMEA Finance magazine.
  • Mr Muriuki was feted for several reasons including retaining employees and continued payment of dividends while demonstrating resilience in the Covid-19 pandemic era.
  • In addition to awarding Mr Muriuki, the magazine also named Co-op Bank the “Best Bank in Kenya”.

Co-op Bank #ticker:COOP boss Gideon Muriuki has been named “CEO of the Year” in the 2021 African Banking Awards by the EMEA Finance magazine.

The awards recognise corporate leaders and financial institutions which, through their client focus and sound leadership, continue to increase profitability, deliver affordable credit to the retail and wholesale markets, and support local and transnational corporations to do business.

Mr Muriuki was feted for several reasons including retaining employees and continued payment of dividends while demonstrating resilience in the Covid-19 pandemic era.

In addition to awarding Mr Muriuki, the magazine also named Co-op Bank the “Best Bank in Kenya”.

Co-opTrust Investment Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Co-op Bank, was also named the “Best Asset Manager.” Co-opTrust has Sh181 billion worth of assets under management.

Co-op Bank closed 2020 with 4,628 employees, a rise from 4,422 the previous year as it added more staff from its acquisition of a 90 percent stake in Jamii Bora Bank.

“In the Kenyan banking sector, Co-op Bank made a firm decision to not retrench any staff despite the challenges of the time,” the lender said in a statement.

“We undertook a bank-wide analysis to identify inefficiency spurred by the disruptive environment constituting to the redeployment of staff accordingly while ascertaining retention.”

Co-op Bank also maintained a dividend payout of Sh5.8 billion or Sh1 per share, making it the only publicly-traded lender to sustain cash distributions through the pandemic.

The bank said its dividends form a major income source for the 15 million members of the co-operative movement who own a controlling 64.56 percent stake in the lender through their investment vehicle Co-op Holdings Co-operative Society Limited.

“This exhibits the extent our dividend has on the livelihood of Kenyans; conservation of a dividend would have antagonised the livelihood of thousands in an already challenging time,” the bank said.