July 18, 2024

Co-op Bank’s Expansion amidst the Digital Revolution

Co-operative-Bank-of-Kenya

Kenya’s Co-operative Bank is planning to open 15 new physical branches this year, despite the rising preference for digital services in the banking sector.

Currently boasting over 193 branches nationwide, coop bank aims to maintain a physical presence while embracing the digital revolution sweeping across the financial industry.

Digitalization has revolutionized the customer experience in Kenya’s banking sector, enabling customers to perform a myriad of transactions from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. 

From checking balances to transferring funds and paying bills, the advent of digital banking channels has ushered in unprecedented convenience. 

Branchless banking, facilitated by mobile banking apps, online account opening, AI-powered chatbots, robotic process automation (RPA), data analytics, and cash deposit machines, has become increasingly prevalent.

The Co-operative Bank of Kenya has been at the forefront of this digital revolution, successfully migrating 94% of customer transactions to alternative delivery channels.

The bank exercises mobile banking, ATMs, internet banking, a 24-hour contact center, and a network of Co-op Kwa Jirani agents spread across the country. Additionally, the bank has embraced Microsoft 365 to enhance collaboration and communication within its operations.

Investments in digital transformation initiatives like Project Connect & Build (CB) and an omnichannel platform cater to the evolving needs of over 5 million customers.

Furthermore, the acquisition of Kingdom Bank Ltd expands its market presence and enhances its offerings, particularly in the MSME sector.

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) reported a significant preference for digital channels among the banked population, with mobile banking emerging as the most sought-after channel.

Internet banking is the second most preferred channel at 24.6%, showcasing a slight uptick compared to the 23.3% preference in 2022.

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Despite this trend, Co-op Bank’s decision to open new physical branches is to maintain a physical presence to cater to diverse customer needs and preferences.

Physical bank branches play a crucial role in fostering trust, providing personalized assistance, and catering to specific customer requirements.

Face-to-face interactions enable customers to build trust with their financial institutions, fostering loyalty and establishing a local presence within communities.

Moreover, physical branches offer expert advice and facilitate in-person transactions, which remain indispensable for certain banking needs.

Co-op Bank’s strategy of integrating digital and physical channels aims to provide a seamless and personalized banking experience for customers. 

The bank seeks to enhance customer understanding and engagement across all channels to gain a unified view of customer data.

This will be achieved through methods such as mapping the customer journey, integration of digital experiences into physical locations, and leveraging technology.

Omnichannel banking, characterized by a consistent user experience across multiple channels, offers several benefits including seamless transitions, 24/7 accessibility, personalization, and efficient issue resolution. 

By harnessing the power of cloud computing, chatbots, and customer journey mapping, Co-op Bank aims to optimize its operations and drive customer satisfaction. 

Despite migrating 90 percent of transactions online, the bank has said that it is opening new outlets. This is because of the need for service centers for its customers and sacco network numbering.

It is also to accommodate the 23,000 bank agents who depend on physical outlets for cash management services.

Amidst the digital revolution, the bank offers a wide range of digital services, including mobile loans, top-up salary loans, and e-loans.

These services cater to diverse financial needs, with loan amounts ranging from as low as KES 50,000 to accommodate various financial requirements.

The bank’s mobile banking platform provides convenient access to a plethora of services, including balance inquiries, fund transfers, and bill payments. 

However, customers should be aware of the associated co-operative bank mobile banking charges. This includes KES 50-120 for transfers to M-pesa or AirtelMoney, KES 35 for balance inquiries, and KES 150 for EFT transfers. 

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Co-operative Bank also charges a 2.75% currency conversion fee for transactions made abroad and a 3% cash fee for transactions, with a minimum of £3 per transaction.

Co-op Bank’s mobile banking services also extend to facilitating transactions between the bank and M-pesa. Customers can expect to pay KES 30 per ATM withdrawal and varying fees for agent withdrawals and transfers to M-pesa, AirtelMoney, or other mobile platforms.

Moreover, co-operative bank paybill numbers, 400200 and 400222, offer seamless payment solutions for customers and businesses alike. PayBill 400200 enables customers to deposit money directly into a merchant’s Co-op Bank account using M-pesa.

PayBill 400222, on the other hand, allows customers to reconcile payments made to their own Co-bank accounts via M-pesa.

Customers can reach out for assistance regarding lost or stolen cards, suspicious activities, or general inquiries through various co-operative bank customer care numbers, including 0800 554 554 for urgent queries and 03457 212 212 for further support.