Heads to roll at KCB

Posted on January 12, 2011


Employees of Kenya Commercial Bank now risk facing the sack after the bank brought in consultants to review its operations and make recommendations.

The Kenya Commercial Bank headquarters fondly known as KENCOM; Heads are likely to roll here

The story appearing in a section of the newspapers indicated that the bank had appointed McKinsey and Company, who will be engaged with it for the next five months.

But more telling is the job descriptions for the firm, which is clear-cut; review the organizations structure with a focus on job roles and placements.

It will also look at its governance and information technology platform. In plain language this means that jobs are on the line at the bank. At the end of the five months it is obvious that some employees will be asked to ‘step aside’ since the company will no longer require their services.

In January, the Business Daily carried a story indicative that most banks were being weighed down by operational costs. This was eating into their profitability, a concern that any board of directors and shareholders holds dearly.

At the beginning of 2010, the bank had 5,492 staff both permanent and non-permanent.

It is a public knowledge that KCB has one of the highest costs to income ratio in the industry. This means that the bank continues to pay more in wage bills and this needs to be tamed.



Martin Oduor Otieno, managing director of KCB

Recently, the bank rolled out a robust IT platform that effectively enabled it to start offering online services.

This is the trend that the banking industry is taking over with a long- term vision of reducing queues in the banking halls.

Plans by the bank to reduce its work force have been around for some time.

In fact it is on record that it at one point introduced a voluntary retirement scheme for its staff. But with the engagement of the consultancy firm, the die is cast; heads must roll and roll real soon. However, the bloated workforce at the bank is indicative of its past firmly anchored in the government systems.

Initially, under the helm of the government before going public, some of its structures are still reminiscent of the order of the old civil service.

For example, the bank has about 25 executive directors and heads of departments manning its business in Kenya and across the region.

This includes several of them heading departments such as retail banking, credit, finance, operations, security, mortgage, special projects and corporate banking among others.

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