The Kenyan Banking Industry: Challenges and Sustainability

  • Samuel Muiruri Muriithi
  • Lynette Louw
Part of the Palgrave Studies of Sustainable Business in Africa book series (PSSBA)


The banking industry is a major driver of economic development for world economies. By offering different types of services, such as facilitating money transfers between countries and ensuring that savers and borrowers are brought together in well-organised structures, the industry determines countries’ economic development and long-term sustainability. Although critical to world economic stability, the last six decades have seen the industry experience severe financial challenges which have negatively affected economic performance of most countries. The main causes of financial crises have been non-performing loans, political interference, uncertain global financial trends and poor leadership. The Kenyan banking industry is considered the most mature, fastest-growing and largest in East Africa, thereby making it the regional financial leader. The industry has, however, been a victim of both global and domestic financial challenges. Between 1980 and 2000, the country’s financial industry was characterised by major financial upheavals that led to the collapse of many banks, while others were in and out of receivership. The crises were attributed to non-performing loans, weak internal control mechanisms, poor governance and poor leadership. Since the year 2000, the government has instituted tough measures to revive the industry, which have resulted in stability. As such, the industry has experienced positive and encouraging growth, contributing towards making the sector the financial hub of the East Africa region. Despite recent gains, however, the industry still faces challenges of corruption, inability to reach the majority of the rural population, fragmentation and ineffective leadership. This chapter explores the importance of enhancing and strengthening the banking internal control mechanisms and developing sustainability strategies, focusing on business practices and product development geared towards healthy economic, social and environmental activities.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Muiruri Muriithi
    • 1
  • Lynette Louw
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsDaystar UniversityNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of ManagementRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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