This report is the second in a series of studies that measure the cost of banking services in Kenya. It follows the first report that was released in 2017 and constitutes a complementary element in the measurement of the financial inclusion landscape in Kenya.
Over the last decade, Kenya has witnessed a remarkable expansion in the access to financial services. Overall access to formal financial services now stands at 83%, up from 67% in 2016. However, a more mixed picture emerges when we look at the actual usage of the new financial access.
Usage provides a valuable inference on the value that financial services and products contribute to the economic lives of users. For banks, aggregate data suggests that the average number of transactions per customer is still relatively low. Usage of traditional bank accounts has dropped from 32% in 2016 to 30% in 2019. Cost is often the most visible constraint to access and usage, but it is not the only one. While the primary focus of this study was to measure cost, the objective was wider to include identifying opportunities for enhancing value to both the banks and their customers.
The 2019 cost of banking study focused on deposit accounts offered by 11 banks that cumulatively controlled 97% of the total number of deposit accounts in Kenya as at December 2017. All the 11 banks have different market and customer segments, targeting either the mass market or niche segments. However, the goal was to focus on the accounts that are most likely to be used by ordinary Kenyans.