NBK branches to stay closed Saturday for system upgrade

National Bank CEO Wilfred Musau. FILE PHOTO | NMG
National Bank CEO Wilfred Musau. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

National Bank of Kenya (NBK) #ticker:NBK is investing millions of shillings in the upgrade of its core banking system, becoming the latest lender to advance its operating software to boost efficiency and introduce new products.

The switch to the latest version of BankFusion Universal Banking (BFUB) will be done on Saturday when the bank’s branches will remain closed.

NBK’s customers will however access alternative channels including mobile banking, ATMs, agents and merchant outlets.

The bank’s CEO Wilfred Musau said the upgrade will enable the lender to improve customer experience and provide a wider range of products besides boosting efficiency.

“The core banking system upgrade will enable the bank to further increase its operational efficiencies and improve its compliance and risk management functionalities,” Mr Musau said without disclosing the cost of the switch.

“It will also provide the bank an advanced banking platform to position itself for enhanced digital banking services for the customers.”

NBK’s platform also enables Islamic banking services.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) noted that there was no major acquisition or upgrade of existing core banking systems in the country last year.

Lenders had in previous years spent billions of shillings on the systems that have allowed them to launch Internet, agency and mobile banking, among other services.

This has improved their efficiencies while cutting costs, reducing the need for an expanded network of brick-and-mortar branches.

The uptake of digital channels has risen rapidly, allowing some banks like Barclays #ticker:BBK and Standard Chartered #ticker:SCBK to close some of their branches.

“The commercial banks business strategies are mainly driven by the capabilities of these core banking systems and other integrated systems,” CBK says in its latest supervision report.