Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP hired an additional 263 employees last year to serve in new branches, defying the trend that has seen top lenders shed jobs in the quest to be lean.
Co-op has been opening new branches since 2018 with chief executive Gideon Muriuki saying the lender is still keen on deepening its physical presence despite the rising uptake of digital products in the sector.
“We are still opening carefully-selected physical outlets as we believe there is no one single channel that will displace all others, rather, it’s the investment in an optimal and balanced multichannel strategy,” he said.
The new hiring raised the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed lender’s staff count from 4,251 at the end of December 2018 to 4,514 at the end of last March.
This marks the fourth consecutive year of rising headcount. The lender has now added 771 employees from 3,743 workers it had at the end of 2016.
Co-op’s branch network increased by four to 159 in the review period. The bank had last year said it would open branches in Nairobi, Kapenguria, Maralal and Chogoria.
The additional staff, however, saw Co-op’s spending on salaries rise 25 percent to Sh3.48 billion in the first quarter of 2020.