•KBA says following the recent economic downturn, the banking sector is now best placed to take centre-stage and steer economic recovery.
•Industry players say they will play a critical role in supporting growth of the economy.
The banking sector will continue playing a key role in post-Covid recovery, industry players have said
Speaking during the third and final day of the Kenya Bankers Association, Annual Banking Research Conference, KBA vice chairperson Rebecca Mbithi noted that following the recent economic downturn, the banking sector is best placed to take centre-stage and steer economic recovery.
Mbithi however noted that the stability of the banking sector does not imply immunity to economic crises and shocks, adding that crises and shocks present risks that call for proactive mitigation plans.
“The mitigating measures against the effects of the pandemic taken by the banking industry that were fast and decisive, trickled down to provide liquidity support to cushion institutions," she said.
These include small and medium enterprises as well as households, through the difficult times of the pandemic.
"This shows that we built a resilient sector with adequate capital and liquidity buffers,that remained strong to support businesses navigate the adversities associated with Covid-19without compromising systemic stability,” said Mbithi.
She is also the CEO Family Bank.
The three-day conference, which kicked-off on Wednesday this week and closed on Friday,featured presentations of eight papers that sought to explore opportunities and pathways of enhancing the banking industry’s role in steering economic recovery in light of the Covid disruption.
In his remarks during the convention’s closing session, KBA CEO Habil Olaka noted that the conference was an important platform for discussion of ideas among the banking sector players, necessary for anchoring the sector’s role in the economy.
“The clarion call throughout this conference has been the need to explore avenues to build and sustain resilience even as we continue to seek a lasting solution to the pandemic," Olaka said.
The forum saw discussions around enhancing both structural and operational efficiency as a pathway to reducing operational costs, besides enhancing customer experience.
"The digital readiness of the industry which has been instrumental in preventing the health crisis from degenerating into a financial crisis, is particularly noteworthy,” said Olaka.
This year’s conference marked the 10th anniversary of the forum, bringing together researchers, financial sector players, policymakers, and academia.
The pandemic affected almost all sectors of the economy .
Among the institutions represented in the conference included the KBA Centre for Research on Financial Markets and Policy, Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA), Strathmore University, Embu University, NCBABank, KCB Group, and the Central Bank of Kenya.