In a surprising move, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) has set its sights on opening three additional branches within the next two weeks, part of its ambitious expansion plan. This announcement comes amid industry projections indicating a slowdown in branch expansion among Kenyan banks.

DTB, a Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm, has already marked its presence by inaugurating seven new branches in the last quarter alone. The strategic locations for these additions include Gikomba, Eastleigh, Ongata Rongai, Karen Hardy, Kenol Murang’a, Kapsabet, and Bondeni, Mombasa.

Contrary to the forecasted trend of banks embracing the “smart branch” model, DTB’s CEO, Nasim Devji, attributes the expansion to a response to customer demands. Devji emphasizes that the bank’s vision extends beyond geographical reach, emphasizing a deeper connection with its diverse customer base.

“Our expansion goes beyond geographical reach; it is about establishing a deeper connection with the customers we serve. Whether you’re a business owner in need of financial solutions, a farmer seeking agricultural financing, or an individual planning for your financial future, DTB is here to serve you,” stated Devji.

The move by DTB defies the prediction made by the Kenya Bankers Association in September, which foresaw a general deceleration in branch expansion. The association anticipated a shift towards the “smart branch” banking model, aiming to bolster deposits and enhance the ability of banks to attract and retain customers through digital means.

Despite the industry’s overall cautious approach, DTB’s recent expansion activities reflect a commitment to meeting customer needs and fostering a closer relationship with its clientele. This expansion drive will bring the total number of DTB branches to an impressive 84 in Kenya and 156 across East Africa.

It is noteworthy that the banking landscape in Kenya has witnessed a change in recent years, with the adoption of alternative delivery channels like mobile banking, internet banking, and agency banking. This shift has led to the closure of 23 branches in 2017, the first such decline in 15 years. Subsequent years saw further closures, totaling 51 between 2017 and 2019.

However, the trend took a turn in 2020, with the opening of 12 branches, and in 2022, 16 new branches were added as some banks ventured into emerging and growth areas.