Co-op Bank #ticker:COOP is set to open five new branches, taking its total physical outlets to 160 despite the industry’s growing focus on digital banking channels.
The new branches will be based in Nairobi, Kapenguria, Maralal and Chogoria as the lender seeks to keep up with competition in cash-rich areas while also reaching out to underserved regions.
Chief executive Gideon Muriuki said the new sites for branches have been determined through rigorous market research and will blend with continued investment in alternative service channels such as agency banking.
“We believe there is no one single channel that will displace all others. Rather, it is the investment in an optimal and balanced multichannel strategy that will offer a fulfilling experience to the customer,” Mr Muriuki said.
In Nairobi, Co-op Bank will add two more branches — one along Kenyatta Avenue at Standard Building and another at the upcoming Parliament tower.
The soon to be opened Kenyatta Avenue branch is undergoing final touches, with branding having been done. It will bring competition to the doorstep of Sidian Bank, which is also on the same building.
Kenyatta Avenue already has Equity, Standard Chartered, I&M, Gulf African, National Bank of Kenya, Bank of India, Ecobank and Stanbic bank, showing the significance of the location to bankers.
The move continues last year’s trend when Co-op Bank’s branch network increased from 148 to 155 necessitating the recruitment of additional 182 employees.
Mr Muriuki says the branches are increasingly becoming service hubs to the network of Saccos who form the bedrock of the bank’s customers. Bank agents also depend on branches for cash management services.