The Co-operative Bank of Kenya was the big winner at the annual Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Awards for the year 2017. The co-op bank, which dates back to 1965, took home the overall Sustainable Finance Catalyst Award.
This year the awards were themed around recognising “catalytic finance” that impacts industry, economy and society. An independent panel of judges assessed the entries in the three categories, including the Best Overall Award, and examined 33 entries from 44 financial institutions.
The shortlisted firms were Barclays Bank of Kenya; Commercial Bank of Africa; Co-operative Bank of Kenya; Diamond Trust Bank; Equity Bank; KCB Group; Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (KWFT); Lenderbal Inc; National Bank; NIC Bank; Prime Bank; Standard Chartered Bank; Safaricom and Stanbic Bank.
Dr Habil Olaka, the chief executive of KBA, said financial institutions had an important role to play in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Globally, financial institutions are increasingly taking a leading role in ensuring their businesses are run sustainably, be it in fighting corruption, limiting the firm’s impact on climate or even advancing workplace inclusion,” he said.
“Kenyan firms are also doing a lot too, through financing sustainable development projects or adopting internal strategies to run their businesses well. That is why we launched the Catalyst Awards; to celebrate companies that, while staying true to their core profitability cause, have not lost sight of doing what is right.”
Gideon Muriuki, group managing director of Kenya Co-operative Bank, said the bank was “inclusive by design” due to being owned by its 15 million members. He added the bank’s co-operative model had helped it act with prudence and avoid putting future generations at risk.
“Sustainability is fully integrated in our business model that stands on the three pillars of economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental stewardship,” he said.
One of the bank’s most popular projects has been funding the Two Rivers Mall project, investing a total of USD $80m, helping to create 1,000 jobs.