KENYA – Faulu Microfinance Bank has announced a US$1.13m (KSh113m) branch expansion plan that will see the lender expand its presence across the country, reports The Star.

The plan will see the bank open eight new branches in Ugunja, Kapenguria, Homabay, Kericho, Busia, Voi, Bondo and Limuru.

The micro-lender says it will upgrade its marketing offices into sales and service centers in Taveta, Emali, Iten and Kimilili to enable it to offer a wide range of products and services to clients.

The SME-focused bank has also embarked on a mission of refurbishing 15 branches across the country.

Faulu reckons the expansion, which comes at a time when other lenders are moving away from brick-and-mortar branches to focus on digital strategies, will help it build stronger links with Kenya’s local communities while it deepens its relationship with counties and the national government.

Faulu Microfinance Bank managing director Apollo Njoroge has said the bank is seeking to increase its reach to community and SME banking segments with a focus on investment, lending and financial advisory services.

“By expanding the bank’s footprint and expanding customer touchpoints, we purpose to be more accessible and offer convenience to our growing customer base across the country,”

“Such partnerships facilitate scalable business models while leveraging economies of scale in our operations.” He said.

Faulu, which was recently feted as the leading microfinance bank of 2019, has recently ran into regulatory and legal headwinds over the conduct of some of its staff.

In the dynamic market and consumer trends, the bank serves one of the players in the microfinance network integrating digital technology into all areas of business.

The microfinance which traditionally focused on serving groups recently introduced digital channels that permit customers to bank conveniently through Faulu VISA cards, mobile banking and ATMs.

Earlier this year, the bank officially launched agency banking in Murang’a county and has so far enrolled over 400 agent outlets to improve customers’ banking experience.