KBA Roles

: Interviews By Hillary Ngeno

In July 2012, the Kenya Bankers Association celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, barely a year before the nation’s own jubilee celebration of independence. The occasion brought together leading personalities in the banking industry, both past and present, as well as a number of key officials, including the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka; and the Minister for Finance, Njeru Githae.

Addressing guests at the gathering Habil Olaka, KBA chief executive officer of the Association who has been credited for catalysing the rapid transformation of the industry association, paid glowing tribute to Kenyan bankers and their staff for their important role in shaping Kenya’s history throughout the nation’s first fifty years of independence.

About the Kenya Bankers Association
Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) was registered as an Industry Association on 16th July 1962 by the Registrar of Trade Unions. In its formative years, the main aim of the Association was to cater for interests of the member banks in negotiating terms and conditions of service of its unionisable employees and as far as possible, standardize management practices so as to ensure harmony in the Industry.

Over time, the core function of the Association to negotiate on behalf of employers with the union on labour matters changed to include promoting industry development and economic growth in general by engaging the government and sector regulator, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
As the umbrella body of the commercial banks licensed under the Banking Act, with a current membership of 43 banks, KBA has endeavored to reinforce a reputable and professional banking sector in a bid to best support Kenyans, who entrust their ambitions and hard-earned resources with its member banks.

KBA Initiatives & Programs

Kenya Bankers Association has undertaken major initiatives towards the development of banking, including aligning standards for the industry; the Modernization of the Payments Systems; and the Automated Clearing House, which KBA owns and is operated with oversight by the Central Bank of Kenya.

In line with the Government’s Policy of Public Private Partnerships, the Association works closely with the Regulator to ensure that Government initiatives and policies are implemented smoothly. Under this partnership, the Association and the Central Bank of Kenya have been able to implement key milestone projects such as the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), and the Currency Centre projects.
Through its close coordination and liaison with the CBK, the Association established the Kenya Credit Information Sharing Initiative (KCISI) in August 2009. This unit operates under the ambit of the Association to coordinate the efforts of members to share credit information through Credit Reference Bureaus licensed by the CBK. Formal exchange of credit data among banks commenced with effect from August 2010 and full file credit information sharing is projected to commence by 2014. Through this initiative, the Association hopes to ensure that lenders make use of vital information on their debtors to differentiate between low and high risk borrowers. This will enhance credit risk management and eventually lead to granting of more favorable terms to low risk customers.

Among other key milestones is the recent implementation of the Cheque Truncation System. This system has markedly reduced the cost of clearing cheques as well as minimized the turn-around times for cheque clearing across the country while delivering a more efficient service to the banking public.

KBA Center for Research on Financial Markets and Policy
The Center for Research on Financial Markets and Policy® was established by the Kenya Bankers Association in 2012 to enhance KBA’s role in matters of industry policy, further consolidating its position as the authoritative voice on banking in Kenya.

The KBA Center for Research on Financial Markets and Policy sponsors original research, provides thoughtful commentary, and hosts dialogues and conferences involving scholars and practitioners on key financial market issues. Through these activities, the Center acts as a platform for intellectual engagement and dialogue between financial market experts, the banking sector and the policy makers in Kenya. It therefore contributes to an informed discussion that influences critical financial market debates and policies. The other activities run by the Center are Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Research Notes; the quarterly Economic Bulletin; publishing the KBA Working Paper Series on Banking Research; and hosting the Annual Banking Research Conference.