KCB saves Sh2bn as staff size falls to six-year low

A KCB banking hall in Nairobi.
A KCB banking hall in Nairobi. The number of the bank’s employees has dropped by 263 from 6,483 at the end of the previous year. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

KCB Group #ticker:KCB has cut its payroll costs by Sh2.14 billion as staff size dropped for the third year in a row to 6,220 employees.

This is a continuation of the trend that has been seen in the banking industry that is steadily shedding jobs.

The lender disclosed in its results presentation for the year ended December, 2018, that employee numbers dropped by 263 from 6,483 at the end of the previous year. From staff size of 5,162 in 2012, the number of employees grew to a peak of 7,509 in 2015 before starting to shrink.

The latest staff cost saving - from Sh19.2 billion to Sh17 billion— is slightly above the Sh2 billion that was spent in 2017 on early retirement package that affected 316 employees.

This saving contributed to 21.8 percent jump in net profit to Sh24 billion.

Bank sector jobs

It points to a continued grim picture for employees in the banking sector that shed 2,792 jobs in the previous year, according to Central Bank of Kenya data. In 2013, KCB had 2.5 million customers being served by 6,489 employees. However, with customer size having grown nearly seven times, employee size has shrunk.

The lender did not disclose reasons for the latest drop in staff size. However, in 2017, the bank cited restructuring, natural attrition and dismissals over fraud as the reasons that had led to the drop in staff size by 861 employees.

KCB says it closed last year with 17.4 million customers being served in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The reduced employee size reflects the growing importance of non-branch activities as more customers embrace digital tools.

In the year under review, non-branch revenue grew by 27 percent to over Sh5.2 billion as 88 percent of transactions were performed outside branches.