On 6th November, the Kenya banking sector, under the umbrella body of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), unveiled a credit platform for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) called Stawi. Stawi was unveiled at the sector’s inaugural Inua Biashara Day by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta.
ABC Bank participated in the inaugural Inua Biashara Day that was held at Safari Park Hotel themed “Promoting innovative finance for MSMEs”. We displayed some of the products of the SME customers we have been supporting to grow their business in different industries.
“Today, our efforts have borne fruit and I am confident we are going to restart this powerful engine of our economy. I take this opportunity to thank and also welcome our development partners to join us in finding solutions to grow our MSMEs,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said while launching the product.
The platform, christened Stawi, is an unsecured digital credit scheme which is meant to improve access to credit for MSMEs, through offering unsecured loans from between KSh30,000 to KSh250,000 with repayment periods of 1 month to 12 months, at an interest rate of nine percent per year.
Speaking during the launch, the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) chairman Joshua Oigara said that Inua Biashara Day is a continuation of a concerted effort by the banking industry to provide solutions that support the growth and development of MSMEs with the view to ensure that Kenya’s home-grown companies remain strong and thriving entities. It is for this reason that our theme this year is “promoting innovative finance for MSMEs.
The loans are designed to accommodate MSMEs, which have for a long time been unable to access affordable credit because of their high risk nature due to lack of collateral or business plans needed to convince lenders of their creditworthiness.
Our ABC Bank Diaspora team was on tour in Qatar from 31st October to 10th November. The team met up with various Kenyan groups in an effort to reach more Kenyans living in the diaspora. The tour ended on a high note with a comedy show organized by ABC Bank and Username Investments and hosted by our re-known comedian MC Jesse.
This is the second visit to Qatar after a successful tour in 2017. The team utilized the opportunity to reinforce relations with its customers there, as well as forge new ones. The tour is part of the Bank’s plan for Diaspora engagement and partnership-building to leverage the business opportunities that the Diaspora Community can benefit from.
ABC Bank prides itself in providing distinguished financial service to Kenyans in the Diaspora, focusing not on remittances only, but on investments as well. The Bank also offers professional investment advice to customers to enable them to make informed investment decisions and enlighten them on the best investment opportunities available in Kenya.
The Tour Itinerary
|November 1||Meeting with Kenyans during FC Kenya Football tournament, Green Maasai troupe and Kenyans in Qatar Chama meeting|
|November 2||Attend a church service at Religious Complex Doha|
|November 3||Meeting with Qatar Airways staff at HQ Doha|
|November 4||Pilots meet up in the evening at City centre|
|November 5||Attend a church Fellowship at GIAM International, Doha.|
|November 6||Corniche Diaspora Sacco officials meeting|
|November 7||Meeting with Corniche Investments Ltd members at Business Park (Holiday Inn)|
|November 8||Comedy Night at Rotana in conjunction with Username Investments and hosted by MC Jesse|
|November 9||Follow up meetings at Holiday Inn Business Park Hotel|
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ABC Bank joined the world in marking this year’s Customer Service Week by celebrating its relationship with customers in all its branches. The Bank engaged customers and staff in a variety of exciting activities as part of its efforts in embracing this year’s Customer Service Week theme of “Beyond the Smile”. Bank staff surprised customers with tokens of appreciation at their premises to celebrate with them on their milestones on their individual journeys.
The annual week-long event was marked from 7th to 11th October. This is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. Locally, the event is coordinated by the Institute of Customer Service of Kenya.
The week was filled with pomp and glamour for both external and internal customers where customers enjoyed goodies and fun-filled activities in our branches. The Bank took the opportunity to celebrate its customers and appreciate them for journeying with us and for their support over the years.
The Interbank games ran from 21st to 28th September at Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS). ABC Bank was well represented by our team which participated in chess, table tennis and Athletics. This year, we had the highest number of participants and we are proud to have won 4 games in chess being the first time the Bank is participating in chess. We celebrate every staff member who participated in the games or turned up to support and cheer our very own.
ABC Bank Meru SME Relationship Manager James Muriithi (left) presents CEO of St. Theresa’s Mission Hospital – Kiirua Sr. Mary Agnes Nkatha (centre) and Morris Kaumbuthu (right) with a donation to support the annual charity walk aimed at aiding patients diagnosed with orthopaedic complications access surgery.
ABC Bank continues to help students reach their highest potential through education by sponsoring yet another bright student Morab Wangari Kivuti, who has been admitted to Moi University as a first year student to pursue degree of Bachelor of Travel Operations Management. Morab resides at Kayole Girls Street Children Rehabilitation Home is one of the girls the Bank has been supporting through Friends of Kayole aka FOK group.
On Saturday 10th August, part of our ABC Bank team visited Zion Children’s Home in Kasarani to deliver books and household goods. The children were really excited to get so many storybooks that will keep them very busy during the school holidays. Mercy, the Zion library prefect, was thrilled to have their library stocked. It was a fun-filled day as the kids danced and interacted with the guests. As Taylor Swift said, books train your imagination to think big and realize you can be whatever you want to be.
Article by Joseph Waithaka, Head of diaspora banking, ABC Bank Kenya
This article was featured in the Business Daily here
A long-time friend who lives and works in the United States of America once called me with a rather peculiar request. His son was coming back to Kenya from the US and my friend wanted me to pick him up from the airport on his arrival. My friend was worried that since his son had spent ten continuous years in the US, he might have lost his bearing and would need help to find his way around once he jetted back into Kenya.
Having personally spent 16 years in the US, I could easily understand where my friend was coming from but a number of my colleagues could not fathom the fact that someone can ‘forget’ or lose touch with their home country no matter how long they stay away. Decades ago, Kenyans typically left the country for a limited time, either to work or study, with the intention of returning to Kenya to settle. In recent years, this scenario has changed, with more in the diaspora staying away for tens of years and building a life away from Kenya.
This state of affairs has had a significant toll on what can be referred to as the second generation diaspora who might have left the country while too young thereby forming completely new identities while abroad. This generation tends to assimilate to the host country’s culture making it difficult for the parents to leave the host country for home.
The fact that Kenyans in the diaspora play a significant role in propping up our economy cannot be understated. Recent data from the World Bank shows that Kenyans working abroad sent home Sh 280 billion in remittances in 2018, outpacing earnings from tourism, tea, coffee and horticulture exports.
The report that was prepared by Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, a World Bank unit, shows that remittances from Kenyans in the diaspora were also higher than those sent to the other East African countries combined.
As laudable as this is, it might be too early to uncork the champagne in celebration and here is why.
Whereas the hundreds of billions of shillings are critical in supporting relatives back home in meeting obligations like paying school fees, hospital bills and food as well as making long-term investments such as building homes, over the years I have noted that many Kenyans working abroad are increasingly opting to make long-term investments abroad rather than home.
A cursory inquiry into this new trend quickly reveals that this gradual shift has more to do with the aspirations of the second-generation Kenyans in the diaspora which may not tally with those of their parents.For their parents, the staying abroad is a temporary phase that will eventually end with their return back home once they have done their best in fending for their kin.
For the second generation however, abroad feels like home since they assimilate to the new culture in order to get in sync with their peers.
The early 2000s brought with it an economic boom in Kenya that coincided with economic boom in western countries. Home ownership became really easy due to easy access to mortgage financing and low interest rates. At the same time increased economic opportunities in the Kenyan capital and real estate markets attracted many in the Diaspora to invest back home.
The result has been a unique situation, where many Kenyans living abroad have significant investments in both countries.
These are the Kenyans that can loosely be described as the “sandwich generation”, with roots anchored in the immediate family and a strong attachment to the home country. However, in many cases these Kenyans are bringing up children who do not share the same attachment for Kenya and hence have other roots abroad.
As they grow older, they are grappling with the issue of ensuring a smooth transition in matters succession especially for investments made in Kenya.
Lack of enough exposure to the Kenyan culture and way of life additionally poses a significant challenge in re-integrating the children back into the country. As such, these children often lack a strong Kenyan identity and may struggle with the idea of returning to a ‘home’ they can barely relate to.
To spur interest in investments made back home parents should keep their Kenyan ties alive by making sure that their children visit their ancestral homes frequently, and for extended periods of time. While in Kenya, let these children mingle with their grandparents and extended family.
ABC Bank has been supporting our customer, the Catholic church, in various initiatives such as sponsoring the Mater Heart Run and other church events. The Bank sponsored a Fund Drive organized by the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega held on 29th June 2019 at St. Peter’s Seminary Grounds. During the event, the church raised funds towards the ongoing construction of the Tuition Block. The Bank also sponsored the PEFA church Nyanza regional conference held on 2nd July at Siaya for construction of a new church. The ABC Kisumu team represented the Bank during both events.
The ABC Bank Treasury team in conjunction with our Nakuru Branch team held an interactive client dinner on Friday 21st June 2019 at Hotel Merica in Nakuru. The team had an interactive evening networking with forex clients and potential customers. As ABC Bank we strive to understand our customer needs by having interactive sessions and also update our customer on current trends and changes in the banking industry.
Nicholas Muchami carved a road in Kaganda village, Murang’a county to save villagers the trouble of using a longer route to their destination. When his story went viral, many well-wishers came forward to celebrate his selflessness. Some ABC Bank staff took it upon themselves to recognize his efforts in giving back to the community by coming together and contributing household shopping in May.
ABC Bank pledged to support Muchami for his philanthropic act and on Tuesday 11th June, the Bank delivered on its promise. ABC Bank staff led by General Manager – Treasury & Financial Institutions Philip Wambua surprised Muchami at his home in Kaganda, Murang’a by delivering a high yielding ‘grade’ dairy cow, a supply of cow feed and livestock insurance right to his doorstep.
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ABC Bank scooped two awards at the Think Business Awards gala held on 17th May 2019. The Bank was recognized as the winner in the Bank with the lowest charge overall category and the 2nd runners up in the Bank with the lowest charge for individuals category.
Bagging the awards for Bank with the lowest charges three years in a row affirms the Bank’s commitment to offer innovative and affordable financial solutions that meet our customers’ needs.
We thank you for making us champions. Asante sana!
Not all heroes wear capes and certainly Nicholas Muchami, a 45-year old man from Kaganda village, Kiharu, Murang’a County is one of them.
The tall, lean, ashy-haired man of few words does not resemble a character that mirrors one of Marvel’s Avenger franchise heroes, but to the people of his village, Muchami is hailed as the local hero who has made life better for all.
His story, that went viral on social media, narrates how he tirelessly dug a road up a hill for 10 days straight so that the distance between two parts of Kaganda village could be halved.
Armed with a hoe and a ramrod determination to complete his task to construct a 1.5 kilometre road, Muchami dug from dawn to dusk to dig the road up a hill.
“I work as a watchman at a nearby school and I see that people around the area including children have to walk at least four kilometers to get from one point of Kaganda to another. I decided to dig the road to make travelling easier,” said Muchami when he visited ABC Bank’s head office.
Esther Wanjiku, a social activist and a Kaganda native, was joyously unrestrained when the road was completed and this is what drove her to tell Muchami’ s story via social media, a move that has stolen the hearts of Murang’a residents, local, regional and national politicians, businessmen, mainstream media and other Kenyans including the management of ABC Bank.
Esther, who accompanied Muchami for the meeting at ABC Bank, says that road has inspired other residents in the area to take up ownership of challenges they face while at the same time this road has challenged leaders, across the board, to apply themselves in solving issues that affect their constituents.
“Muchami is an inspiration to us all that we do not necessarily have to have money to solve problems,” said Esther. Since the news went viral Muchami has additionally attracted the attention of businesspeople from as far as Kitengela as well as well-wishers who have stepped forward to show appreciation of his work, and this has been helpful.
Muchami has managed to build the road despite numerous challenges including not having a complete house while at the same time, he does menial gigs to supplement his meagre income.
“Some of the problems that I have include an incomplete house. I would appreciate if my home could get electricity. I would be eternally grateful if I had another dairy cow,” added the soft-spoken man.
ABC Bank decided to make his wishes come through. ABC Bank Treasury & Financial Institutions General Manager Philip Wambua pledged, on behalf of the bank, to buy a high yielding ‘grade’ dairy cow and at least six months of feed and livestock insurance. “In addition to supporting Muchami with his immediate needs we must also provide solutions that are sustainable,” said Philip at the meeting.
ABC Bank will work with Esther to open an account for Muchami with the local milk processors so that he can supply his milk on a daily basis, organize to open a bank account for him, give him financial training and organize extension services to ensure that his cows are healthy, and they can multiply. Bank staff also contributed their own resources to send him back home with an assortment of food and household goods.
ABC Bank notes the fake allegations of money laundering circulating on Social Media. We reject these rumours and the choreographed attack on our Bank as malicious and unfounded. The Bank is fully compliant with CBK regulations and the principles of corporate governance.
We strongly refute allegations made about gaps in our Anti Money Laundering/Know Your Customer (AML/KYC) checks. We are fully committed to adhering to all existing AML/KYC guidelines.
On Sunday 7th April 2019, The Visa Oshwal Vanik Community in Kisumu held a Free Eye Camp in the region, at Gagra Secondary School. ABC bank partnered with the team by sponsoring and supporting the activities of the day which included operation of cataracts, provision of reading glasses and prescription of medication to patients who turned up for eye check ups.
On Friday 15th March, ABC Bank hosted 5 ladies from Ngara Girls High School for a job shadow day in celebration of Global Money Week. Global Money Week is an annual financial awareness campaign held in March to inspire children and young people to learn about money matters, livelihoods and entrepreneurship. This year’s Global Money Week theme is “Learn Save Earn”. This is an initiative of Kenya Bankers Association in partnership with Junior Achievers. The girls visited Westlands Branch and some departments in Head Office where they got to learn the roles and functions of different departments.
On Thursday 15th March 2019, ABC Bank donated Sh. 300,000 to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in support of this year’s Mater Heart Run to be held on Saturday 25th May 2019. ABC Bank Head of Retail Banking, Amanda Corline said that the Bank was glad to be giving back to the community and making a difference in the health sector by partnering in The Mater Heart Run programme as she presented Mater Hospital Governing Council Chair, Prof. Henry Thairu with a dummy cheque in support of The Mater Heart Run 2019.
The Mater Heart Run is aimed at raising funds for the cardiac program. Initially held only in Nairobi, the Heart Run has grown over the years and is now held in nine different towns; Nairobi, Mombasa, Machakos, Mumias, Meru, Kisumu, Nyeri, Eldoret and Nakuru