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A customer at a banking hall in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Bulk electronic bank payments jumped by Sh148.91 billion in July on growing confidence in the economy amid tighter rules for cash withdrawals and deposits.

Some Sh2.58 trillion was cleared and settled through the Real Time Gross Payment System (RTGS) and the Kenya Electronic Payments and Settlement System (KEPPSs) in in the month, 6.12 per cent higher than Sh2.43 trillion a month earlier.

The real-time bank transfers, fresh Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data indicate, were the highest since last October.

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the industry lobby, on June 25 issued stringent self-regulations on over-the-counter transactions in a bid to seal loopholes for money laundering and financing of terror activities.

Traders planning to withdraw or deposit more than Sh10 million in cash are now required to give a three-day notice, satisfy bank managers why they cannot use RTGS and provide supporting evidence for their source and use of the cash.

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Robert Nyamu, head of financial services and lead risk adviser for East Africa at consultancy and audit firm EY, said the rise in real-time bank payments points to firms increasingly unlocking investments due to certainty following the March 9 ‘handshake’ and June 14 budget measures.

“You will see more transactions as the economy picks up because some of the investments were on hold as people were waiting to see what was going to happen to us politically, but with handshake we are now more stable and people are now confident,” said Mr Nyamu.

“More and more people are also inclined to transact on RTGS because it is efficient and transparent, and if there is more scrutiny on over-the-counter, only smaller transactions where you really need cash (will be in banking halls).”

The KBA’s stringent self-regulations, which also require traders withdrawing cash to attach copies of their identity card or passports and those of all payees or beneficiaries, are aimed at reinforcing the existing guidelines by the Central Bank on disclosure and reporting of suspect cash transactions.



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