Impact of competition on the growth of first Community Bank Limited
Stiff competition in the banking industry in Kenya has compelled banks to develop strategies that can help them navigate the turbulent business environment. This research project was a case study on First Community bank Limited. The objective of the study was to determine the impact competition had on the growth of First Community Bank. In order to meet these objectives, primary data was obtained through interviews with the informants responsible at First Community Bank. An interview guide was used as the primary data collection instrument. The researcher also used secondary sources of data to supplement sketchy information given by some interviewees. Data was analyzed qualitatively. The study established that the major competitive factors affecting the bank’s operation are: rise of Islamic subsidiaries, government policies, changing customer expectations and needs, changing employee expectations and morale, technological changes, firm’s size, change in management and internal structure and the market’s potential growth. The study established that First Community Bank has adopted strategies similar to the other Kenyan banks although it has been more aggressive in some aspects. The study revealed that First Community Bank is using various strategies to respond to changes in the Kenyan Banking Industry. The most notable ones include: new products and services, products and services differentiation, market segmentation, automation of business processes, innovation, improved customer service, strategic partnerships, marketing, staff training and development, cost containment, use of mature information technology and entering new markets. The study revealed that although the bank has made heavy investments in business expansion, branding, information technology, customer service and staff development; the study reveals that there are some urgent issues that the bank needs to address in order to sustain its growth momentum. The study concludes that FCB has responded to the competition in the Banking Industry in Kenya through strategic choices which include: new products and services, products and services differentiation, market segmentation, branch network expansion, automation of business processes, innovation, improved customer service, strategic partnerships, marketing, staff training and development, cost containment, use of mature information technology and entering new markets. This has given them the much need edge they required. The study concludes that there are future market potentialities for the Islamic banking products. Many younger generations were seen going for these products and services. For this banking, system to develop and grow the banks should create awareness through seminars, workshops, and advertisement and prayer sermons quoting verses from Quran and sayings of the prophet (hadith) that concern Islamic Banking. The study recommends the Bank needs to deal with the issue of high staff turnover, embrace paperless banking like their competitors have done and finally the bank needs to be active in the social media to come up with a policy governing the use of social media advertising to safeguard its reputation.