Staff costs trend up as Banks fight to slow expenses

James Mwangi at Equity Bank Investor Briefing

According to recently released banking sector financial results, among the top 10 banks by market share (which control 67 per cent of the total banking industry), the staff cost increases differed significantly, rising by as much as 20 per cent for NIC Bank and falling by 4.5 per cent in the case of Equity Bank.

The latter, who announced that its head count fell by 660 last year, saw its staff costs decline by to Sh10.29 billion from Sh10.77 billion in 2014.The only other top 10 lender to announce a fall in staff costs was National Bank of Kenya, from Sh3.7 to Sh3.6 billion.

Among the six top-tier lenders, Commercial Bank of Africa had the largest staff cost increase at 19.1 per cent from Sh2.7 billion to Sh3.2 billion. Barclays Bank saw its cost rise by 14.8 per cent to Sh9.3 billion, KCB’s by 9.4 per cent to Sh15.31 billion while the staff costs of Standard Chartered rose by 8.6 per cent to Sh6.1 billion.

Cooperative bank staff costs rose by 5.4 per cent to Sh8.9 billion even as the bank said staff numbers declined by 400. According to Cytonn investments 2015 banking report, the use of alternative channels is however expected to reduce operating expenses and improve efficiency and will be a key driver for diversification.