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Over the last few years, the Banking sector in Kenya has continued to growth in assets, deposits, profitability and products offering. The growth has been mainly underpinned by an industry wide branch network expansion strategy both in Kenya and in the East African community region. It has also automated a large number of services and a move towards emphasis on the complex customer needs rather than traditional 'off-the-shelf' banking products.

The Banking industry in Kenya is governed by the Companies Act, the Banking Act, the Central Bank of Kenya Act and the various prudential guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). The banking sector was liberalized in 1995 and exchange controls lifted.

The CBK, which falls under the Minister for Finance docket, is responsible for formulating and implementing monetary policy and fostering the liquidity, solvency and proper functioning of the financial system.

Players in this sector have experienced increased competition over the last few years resulting from increased innovations among the players and new entrants into the market.

The main challenges facing the Banking sector today include:

  • New regulations: For instance, the Finance Act 2008, which took effect on 1 January 2009 requires banks and mortgage firms to build a minimum core capital of KShs 1 billion by December 2012. This requirement will help transform small banks into more stable organizations. The implementation of this requirement poses a challenge to some of the existing banks and they may be forced to merge in order to comply.
  • Global financial crisis: experienced in late 2008 affected the banking industry in Kenya especially in regard to deposits mobilization, reduction in trade volumes and the performance of assets.
  • Others: include declining interest margins

Kenya Banks

As at December 2008 there were forty six banking and non-banking institutions, fifteen micro finance institutions and one hundred and nine foreign exchange bureaus.

The banks have come together under the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), which serves as a lobby for the banking sector’s interests .The KBA serves a forum to address issues affecting members.

Central Bank
The Central Bank of Kenya, known as Banki Kuu Ya Kenya
Micro-Finance Banks
Faulu Kenya Deposit Taking Microfinance Ltd
Foreign Banks
Ecobank Kenya
Banking & Non-banking Institutions
The list includes, but is not limited to: African Banking Corporation, Bank of Africa Kenya, Barclays Bank of Kenya, Chase Bank Ltd, Citibank, Nairobi Commercial Bank of Africa, Development Bank of Kenya, Dubai Bank Kenya Ltd, Gulf African Bank Ltd, Housing Finance Co. Ltd, Nairobi Imperial Bank, I&M Bank Ltd (former Investment & Mortgages Bank Ltd), Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd, Middle East Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, etc…


The Kenyan Shilling (currency sign: KSh, currency code: KES) is the country’s official currency. 1(KSh) = 100 cents, which is the shilling’s sub-unit. Notes are in denominations of KSh1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of KSh 40, 20, 10, 5, 50cts, 10cts, and 5cts. The Shilling per US$ rate is at 80.3859(2009). Kenya’s inflation rate was estimated at 20.5% in 2009.

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