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Google Hangout

ABC Bank scores a first with entrepreneurship Google+ Hangout – 26 May, 2015

In a bid to engage and connect with customers and the general online community, ABC Bank has trodden where most Kenyan corporates dread. The bank has become the first financial institution to host a Google+ Hangouts on Air, dubbed #ABCofBiz.

The highly successful session is the first in a series of similar hangouts that the bank plans to conduct to enhance its visibility and customer acquisition by exploiting technology.

The hangout brought together a panel of different extractions of expertise to discuss ‘common mistakes entrepreneurs make’ and ways of avoiding them to propel their businesses to success. The panelists included Professor Bitange Ndemo from the University of Nairobi, June Gathoni, Director SME Resource Centre, entrepreneurs Eric Kinoti, Murori Kiunga and pioneer comedian Churchill Ndambuki.

Although many Kenyan corporates have Google+ accounts, few have used hangouts to interact with their customers. The hangout attracted hundreds of viewers online and generated a lot of audience engagement. This is attributable to the large online community of young tech-savvy entrepreneurs whose emergence has heralded a new era of heightened competition for the millions of social media users in Kenya, majority of whom had their first internet experience on their mobile phones.

Using Google+ Hangouts to interact with customers offers business several benefits, such as the luxury of meeting many clients simultaneously without leaving the office, fast feedback on products and services, and the ability to produce own content at a low cost, which can be published on YouTube.

Amecea ground breaking

ABC Bank in Ksh. 700 million AMECEA project funding – 26th May, 2015

ABC Bank has financed a Ksh. 700 m construction project by AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) in the up-market Lavington area of Nairobi. The ground breaking ceremony was held on 26th May.

ABC Bank Group CEO Sridhar Natarajan and Group General Manager Peter Kinyanjui attended the ground breaking ceremony. “Through this financing agreement, we are reaffirming our commitment to support our customers’ aspirations. Our vision is to enable you achieve the extra ordinary, and I believe what we are witnessing here today is beyond the ordinary”, said the Group CEO during the ceremony.

The new property will be located in Nairobi’s up market, Lavington area. Once complete the property will house a shopping mall, furnished apartments and offices. This is expected to plug the gap in the property market demand.

AMECEA is an institution of the Catholic Church in Eastern Africa, which exists to empower the society financially, alleviate poverty and support sustainable development in the region. This construction project will create a sustainable revenue stream to enable the organization fulfill its mandate.

Similarly, ABC Bank’s strategy is anchored on a commitment to contributing to the improvement of livelihoods of Kenyans. To achieve this, the bank continues to seek collaborations with like-minded institutions to support initiatives that will advance that objective.

Banking Awards-2015

ABC Bank wins Think Business Product Innovation Award – 8th May, 2015

ABC Bank trounced the large pack of entries in this year’s Think Business Awards to emerge 1st Runners Up in the Best Bank in Product Innovation category. The award winning product was the electronic Warehouse Receipt Financing solution the bank introduced in March in partnership with East Africa Exchange (EAX).

The solution enables farmers protect their produce against storage-related damage and negotiate for better prices.

We’re glad that our efforts to develop revolutionary products are being recognized by industry experts. This award signifies the strength of our business, the efforts of our staff and most importantly, the continued support from our customers.

EAX partnership signing 2015

ABC Bank and East Africa Exchange sign warehouse receipt financing agreement- 10th March, 2015

ABC Bank has signed an agreement with East Africa Exchange (EAX) to help grain farmers and traders obtain financing against their produce deliveries. This will also enable farmers protect their produce against storage-related damage and negotiate for better prices.

With warehouse receipt finance, a farmer or trader will deliver his produce to a warehouse that has been approved by the bank. The bank will then issue a receipt vouching for the quantity and quality of produce being stored. The bank will then take the receipt as collateral and provide financing to the farmer or trader.

Through the deal, ABC Bank will provide finance for electronic warehouse receipts to grain farmers and traders supported by EAX, provide clearing and settlement services platform integrated with the national payment systems and mobile banking solutions.

“ABC Bank is committed to providing customized financial solutions to small and medium enterprises, including agribusinesses,” said ABC Bank Group Managing Director, Shamaz Savani, noting that agriculture is a key economic pillar that ought to be supported through financial partnerships to ensure the country attains food security to support the growing population.

EAX is a commodity exchange that aims to increase regional market efficiency and give the East Africa’s growing population, particularly smallholder farmers, better access to commercial markets, and link them to agricultural and financial markets so they can get competitive pricing for crops and access to finance.

Savani added: “Grain markets in Africa generally suffer from a range of constraints. Smallholder farmers are particularly affected owing to their vulnerability to price fluctuations and their weak bargaining position. With warehouse financing solutions like this, they will now be at a vantage point to bargain for better prices for their produce, thereby enhancing their capacity to produce more, create employment and contribute more to economic development”.

“The key advantage of a warehouse receipt is it resolves a whole series of problems, including protecting the traders from losing their produce in their own storage before reaching the market, and is also a great way of freeing up financing for the farmer,” said Constantine Kandie, Kenya Director for EAX.

Mwea- Hospital

ABC Bank, Fortec bring new dawn in Mwea hospital- 11th February, 2015

Residents of Mwea, Kirinyaga County can now sigh with relief as a new diagnostic imaging machine is within their reach, thanks to the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and an ABC Bank customer Fortec Medix Supplies Ltd.

The latter supplied the CT Scan machine to the mission hospital, through an asset financing facility from ABC Bank. The machine was commissioned on Wednesday 11th February.

Speaking at the event, Westlands Branch Manager, Lydia Ngarama said the new machine will plug the gap in access to health care for the community around and beyond Mwea.

TransFast

ABC Bank stakes claim on Diaspora remittances with TransFast deal- 6th March 2015

ABC Bank and New York-based international money transfer service Trans-Fast have signed an agency agreement to enable Diaspora customers to send money to friends and family in Kenya.

The tie-up with Trans-Fast makes ABC Bank the first bank in East Africa to partner with the money transfer service, which has presence in 108 countries in America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. The two institutions have received approval from the Central Bank of Kenya to launch the service.

ABC is banking on this new deal to solidify its position in the Diaspora remittances ecosystem at a time when Kenya’s Diaspora remittances have reached an all-time high of Sh. 129.99 billion in 2014, according to a recent report by Central Bank of Kenya.

ABC Bank offers a wide array of money transfer services, serving Kenyans living and working in America, Europe, and Middle East, enabling them to support their families in Kenya as well as invest.

“This collaboration brings added value to both ABC Bank and Trans-Fast, but more importantly, to all our customers. Together we bring fast and reliable money transfer services to more Kenyans,” said ABC Bank Group Business General Manager, Peter Kinyanjui, adding that the introduction of Trans-Fast is part of ABC Bank’s strategy for Diaspora customer acquisition and also appropriately caters for local businesses dealing with international clients.

“Kenya is an important market for inward remittances as well as growing potential for outward remittances. Kenyans working force is spread world across and Trans-Fast is well placed to cater to them across the globe”, said Samir Vidhate, Trans-Fast Director, Asia & Africa.

Trans-Fast, which has over 25 years in international money transfer service, enables customers to send money via its E-Commerce platform, TRANSFAST.com, Mobile App and in person at agent locations. Money can be deposited directly into recipients’ bank accounts, or they can pick up cash in person.

Vidhate added: This is a beginning of very important business relationship of two organizations that aim to serve Kenyan Diaspora across the globe. ABC is a highly reputed, technology oriented bank in Kenya and Trans-Fast is one of the very few remittance companies offering wide range of remittance products complimented by multiple channel of origination, in addition to ‘cash 2 cash’ and ‘cash 2 bank’ account.

Trans-Fast also offers, online originations via its e-commerce platform, and with this agreement, it is also offering its payout network in many countries, which includes Cash and Bank product.

ABC Bank also recently signed a similar agreement with international money transfer service, MoneyGram. Customers can access the service in all ABC Bank branches country wide.

Imarika Sacco partnership launch

ABC Bank partners with Imarika Sacco to provide current accounts to Kilifi residents- 22nd January 2015

ABC Bank has partnered with Kilifi-based Imarika Sacco in an effort to boost the county’s economic growth through offering residents a wider range of financial services.

The partnership will allow Imarika Sacco to overcome a regulatory obstacle to begin offering current account services and issuing cheque books to its members through ABC Bank which will, as a result, provide the Sacco members access to the national payments system. This will increase ease of transactions and improve efficiency of doing business.

Saccos and other micro-finance institutions are not allowed by law to provide current account services and cheque books. They are also yet to be accommodated in the national payment system.

“The launch of the Current Account service at Imarika Sacco is part of the realization of a long time dream for product and service diversification as well as a part fulfillment of our brand promise’’ said Imarika Sacco Chairman, Richard Dzombo.

This partnership is part of the bank’s plan to support Saccos in to offer a wider range of innovative products and services to their customers and make them more competitive. ABC Bank has in the recent past entered in to similar partnerships with Unaitas Sacco, Kirinyaga-based Fortune Sacco and Postbank.

“Imarika Sacco customers will now enjoy a wider range of products offered by ABC Bank, therefore enabling them to grow and expand their businesses. This will help increase ease of doing business and thus enhance competitiveness and wealth creation’’, said ABC Bank General Manager, Group Business Development, Peter Kinyanjui.

Kinyanjui added: ‘‘ABC Bank views Saccos and microfinance institutions not as competition, but as partners, hence the reason for this partnership through which ABC Bank seeks to provide Fortune Sacco with a platform that allows it to optimize its input in the economy. We are grateful to note that Saccos and MFIs have embraced our solution and no longer see us as competition. We are partners working together to ensure that Saccos meet the demands of their customers, a one-stop shop and optimize their input in the economy ’’

The partnership is part of ABC Bank‘s efforts to boost the cooperative sector’s competitive advantage to best achieve their business goals, and to offer a seamless, convenient and comprehensive financial services experience to their customers.

Optimism 2015

We are facing 2015 with optimism despite the challenges of 2014 – 5th January 2015

Since the last General Election in March 2013, the first under the country’s new constitutional dispensation various sectors of the economy have undergone major reforms, leading to a more robust and business friendly environment.

In response to these changes, businesses have identified new opportunities to take advantage of the new environment to grow their value and market share. One of these businesses is the ABC Bank, which has aggressively and strategically aligned its operations with the financial market in a bid to shore up its margins and market share.

The bank released a Ksh. 650 million private bond in May this year with a green shoe option of Ksh. 350 million to raise the total long-term lending portfolio due to a significant pent-up demand and support its growth strategies including solidifying and securing its leading position in the small and medium enterprises (SME) segment. The bond was oversubscribed by 57 per cent.

“The bond issue has enabled us provide longer term credit to our SME clients and will also boost the bank’s capital structure to enable us proactively manage capital adequacy ratio requirements in 2015’’, noted ABC Bank Group MD Shamaz Savani.

Looking ahead into 2015, Mr Shamaz said they plan to raise more capital through various vehicles to support their expansion strategy.

“We plan to open two new branches in Nairobi to cater for our increasing number of customers. We will also continue to reinforce our Diaspora Banking strategy to reach new frontiers,’’ Mr. Savani hinted.

He said the bank will continue to invest in innovation, brand building, human capital development and pursuing more Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). He added that they are facing the New Year with a desire to serving their customers even better driven by their sound footing as reaffirmed by various organisations.

For instance, in November 2014 Global Credit Rating Company affirmed the national scale long term rating assigned to ABC Bank of BBB (KE) and upgraded the national scale short term rating to A2 (KE) from previous rating A3 (KE). The ratings are valid until October 2015.

The new ratings are supported by the bank’s moderate business and financial risk profile, growth in business, efficiency in balance sheet, commencement of non-performing loans recovery, cost control as well as success in the private bond issue.

According to Mr. Savani, the favourable rating assures investors of the fundamentals of the business, its actual strength, financial standing, and management details, giving them the confidence in considering investing in the bank.

In an effort to foothold in the market, the bank signed key partnerships with other institutions this year to enable it leverage on its experience of 30 years in the financial sector, and the synergy of its partners to increase it touch points for more customers to access its services more conveniently.

The bank launched a partnership with Kirinyaga-based Fortune Sacco in February, and Postbank in June, to enable the two institutions overcome a regulatory hurdle that limits Saccos and micro-finance institutions from offering certain products such as cheque books, trade finance facilities such as performance and bid bonds, which are requirements for participation in government procurement.

The Postbank deal also included an Agent Banking arrangement, in which ABC Bank would utilize Postbank’s branch network countywide to offer its customers normal banking services such as cash deposits and withdrawals, and balance enquiry.

‘‘We view Saccos and microfinance institutions not as competitors, but as partners, hence the reason we entered into these partnerships. We are partners working together to ensure all parties meet the demands of their customers and optimize their input in the economy,’’ said Savani.

The bank has been recognised by various benchmarking institutions for its good performance in different facets of business. It emerged second in the Internet Banking category during the Banking Awards organized by Think Business Ltd in April. The bank attributes this to its investment in continuous innovation.

It also scooped two awards in the Champions of Governance in November- 1st Runners Up in the Finance and Investments category, as well as 1st Runners Up, Overall.

“We believe well-governed companies carry lower financial and non-financial risks and generate higher shareholder returns. They also have better access to external finance and reduce systemic risks due to corporate crises”, said Mr. Savani. A recent independent survey by Infortrack Harris rated ABC Bank as the best in customer satisfaction among its tier three peers.

This year, ABC Bank upgraded its internet banking platform to the globally acknowledged 2nd Level Authentication, which is a superior security feature that shields customers from fraudsters. Other money transfer services the bank has introduced include a US Dollar debit card, an Account-to-Mpesa (B2C) service in conjunction with Safaricom, and more recently, Airtel Money services.

Diaspora banking is an emerging market that has caught the local banking sector by a storm, with financial institutions angling for the lucrative Diaspora remittances. ABC Bank has aggressively established its footprint through agents in the UK, Americas and the UAE to cater for the growing number of Kenyans living and working abroad.

As a socially responsible organization, ABC Bank invests in corporate social responsibility. Its flagship CSR initiative, the ABC Bank Baringo Half Marathon is an annual sporting event held in November in Kabarnet, Baringo County. The bank this year doubled the sponsorship to Ksh. 10 m and increased the prize kitty.

Airtel Money

Airtle Money goes live in ABC Bank-17th November, 2014

We are glad to inform you that ABC Bank customers can now access Airtel Money services at any ABC Bank branch countrywide. The services being offered under this partnership include;

Retail services – customers will be able to send/receive money at any ABC Bank branch countrywide

Super Agency services – customers will be able to buy or sell float at any ABC Bank branch.

We believe that this new service goes a long way in positioning the Bank as a one stop financial institution.

COG Awards, 2014

ABC Bank shines at governance awards- 15th November, 2017

ABC Bank scooped two prestigious awards at the recent Champions of Governance Awards 2014, organized by the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya.

The bank bagged the second overall champion award, and emerged 1st Runners Up in the Finance and Investments category.

The awards, now in their fifth year, seek to recognize institutions and individuals that exhibit the highest standards of practice of good governance and encourage more organizations, both public and private, to embrace the principles of accountability, transparency and disclosure compliance, consistent shareholder value enhancement, and corporate social responsibility.

These awards mean a lot to us; the recognition is a result of our deliberate and consistent observance of an open and transparent culture that permeates all our daily activities and interactions at all levels. They are a reflection of who we are, as a body corporate.