Strategic responses by Commercial Bank of Africa to changes in the external environment
Commercial Bank of Africa is the largest privately owned bank in Kenya. The bank's target Market since its incorporation has been Corporate and institutional Market segment. CBA has been dominating these markets for a very long time until late 1990s when it started experiencing a lot of Competition from other commercial banks in Kenya. As a result of changes in the external environment, CBA has been forced to respond to challenges resulting from the changes in the environment in a number of ways. This study examined strategic responses adapted by CBA to changes in the external environment. The objectives of the study were first to establish the strategic responses adapted by CBA to changes in the external environment and secondly to establish the challenges that CBA has been facing as a result of changes in the external environment in the last ten years. In order to achieve these objectives, primary data was collected from the bank's senior management team who are part of strategy development. This data was collected through interview guide. Secondary data was collected from official documents within the bank and also other official publications on the banking industry in Kenya. Content analysis was used to analyse the data to objectively understand the views presented by all the respondents. After data analysis, it was observed that CBA responded to the changes in the external environment in a number of ways. Some of the strategic responses used by CBA are: Marketing strategy, Emphasis on new product and Service development, improvement in Information and Technology, fmancial strategy, Improvement in Human Resource Management style and corporate restructuring. Some of the challenges experienced by CBA as a result of external environment changes included. Increased competitive environment, unpredictable changes in leT which required huge capital expenditure, reduction in profit generating avenues as a result of economic recession, legislative changes that would force the bank to adjust it strategic plans every now and then and finally changing and diverse customer preferences, During the study a number of limitations were encountered. These included having very little time with the respondents to enquire very deeply into a number of issues because most of the respondents had allocated a few minutes of their time due to their tight time budgets. I was also not able to get responses from the MD and Executive Director due to their commitments in other business operations. The biggest limitation was in terms of time allocation by respondents and in availability of some respondents. KEY WORDS: Strategy, Responses, External Environment, Commercial Banks.