In 2017, the total number of banking agents in Kenya hit 61,290 with the country’s top three banks taking about 90% share of this. Equity Bank took the biggest chunk of the agents at 28,663 (47%), compared to KCB’s 14,466 (23.6%) and Co-op Bank’s 11,207 (18.3%).
This is according to the central bank’s bank supervision annual report of 2017 which states that the delivery of financial services through agency banking rose last year by 14 per cent for commercial banks and six per cent for microfinance banks.
On the other hand, 94 per cent of the microfinance banks agents are contracted by the Kenya Women Finance MFB.
The report indicates that the overall increase is due to the increasing confidence and acceptability of agency banking in the country.
Performance of Agency Banking in Kenya
The number of banking transactions handled by bank agents grew 34.1 per cent from 104,193,459 transactions in 2016 to 139,751,189 in December 2017. The growth was due to increased transactions in payment of bills, cash deposits, mini statements, and cash withdrawals.
Bank agents carried out the most transactions in cash deposits, cash withdrawals, and account balance enquiries in 2017. The transactions represented 51.5 per cent, 35.0 per cent and 10.2 per cent of the total transactions in that year.
Compared to 2016, the transfer of fund transactions dropped 66.5 per cent due to competition from other delivery channels such as mobile phone banking and PesaLink.
The value of banking transactions made through bank agents rose 46.4 per cent from Sh734.2 billion in 2016 to Sh1 trillion in 2017.
“The continued increase in agency transactions was mainly due to increase in the market presence of bank agents, their products and services they offer. Further, the increase in number and value of transactions underlines Kenyans’ growing confidence and acceptability of the agency banking model by banks and the public,” the report states.