Cooperative Bank is keen to channel more funds into its education scholarship programme, the lender has said, amid expected good prospects in the banking sector.
This comes as top-tier banks in the country give back to the community a share of billions earned in profits for the year ended December 31, to support needy students as schools reopen.
Incepted in 2007, Cooperative Bank Foundation Scholarship Scheme, the longest-running programme amongst lenders in the country, has so far sponsored over 9,000 gifted but needy students from across the country.
“We are focused on sustaining the programme in the long-term. Unless corporate institutions and everyone of goodwill, come together to support initiatives within the education sector, brilliant but needy Kenyans will never realise their full potential,” Co-op Bank Group managing director and CEO Gideon Muriuki said.
According to Muriuki, a large number of Kenyans currently holding positions of responsibility were educated with loans from the Co-operative movement.
“It is for this reason that the Co-operative Bank, being the premier co-operative institution in Kenya, has taken the lead in this area,” he notes.
This year, the Coop Foundation has granted over 655 full secondary education scholarships.
In the 2020/2021 financial year, the lender spent more than Sh158 million on the education programme.
The scholarships are awarded on merit to gifted but needy students from all regions of Kenya.
Co-operative Societies, who are the face of Kenya, identify well-performing students from disadvantaged backgrounds and forward names to a regional forum, where delegates debate and select the most deserving cases.
The bank, which posted a 47 per cent growth in net earnings for the nine months to September 2022, to Sh17.1 billion, is among lenders that have contributed Sh30 million to support orphaned pupils who excelled in their 2022 K.C.P.E examinations, in Murang’a county.
This was during the Murang’a County Education Day at Ihura Stadium, presided over by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Co-op Bank handed over five full secondary education scholarships to governor Irungu Kang’ata, which is part of the scholarships the bank is extending to all the 47 counties.
“Additional scholarships shall be granted through the delegates system of the bank, bringing the total Form 1 scholarships for this year to 655,” the lender said.
Other banks that made contributions were KCB and Family Bank, with bursaries worth over Sh150 million, under governor Kang’ata’s education drive, being handed over to 20,000 beneficiaries.
Deputy president Gachagua made a Sh1 million donation, as well as two close personal friends of the governor, entrepreneur of the Maguna franchise and Delmonte company, who made donations towards the bursaries.
According to the Deputy President, the Kenya Kwanza government remains focused on its plans on universal education, which it says is a key indicator and driver for socioeconomic development.
Local banks have been keen to support the government’s agenda of achieving universal education by 2030, with several coming up with education credit plans.
Every year, banks receive close to 200,000 scholarship applications from students with an average score of 350 markets out of 500.
Meanwhile, local banks are expected to post strong end-of-year earnings if the past three quarters are anything to go by.
Fitch Rating’s latest Kenya banking sector outlook shows Return on Asset (RoA) for top banks in Kenya will rise from 3.5 per cent to five per cent, while Return on Equity (RoE) will improve by 80 basis points from 23.8 per cent.
The average total capital adequacy ratio (CAR) for the larger banks peaked at its highest level over the past four years (end-2021: 18.8 per cent; end-2020: 18.5 per cent).
“The large banks’ capitalisation will remain stable, supported by robust pre-impairment operating profitability,” Fitch said.
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