Co-operative Bank  has removed agents from banking halls, citing increased comfort and preference by customers in transacting via the model from outside branches.

The bank said most customers are now comfortable with agency banking and have substantially migrated transactions to agent outlets away from branches. This makes it easier for agents to scale up the model outside the halls.

Co-op became the first lender to station agents inside branches in 2015 to help customers understand and become accustomed to the model at a time the innovation was little known among clients.

“We realised the newly-appointed bank agents needed training and exposure to prepare them to offer the level and quality of service that bank customers had come to expect from a bank,” said Managing Director Gideon Muriuki.

“It was also intended to make customers familiar and comfortable using bank agents, with the expectation that they would progressively embrace the use of bank agents located away from branches. This process has been tremendously successful.”

The move comes at a time the tier-I lender has moved 89 percent of customer transactions away from the over 155 branches to alternative delivery channels such as the 16,000 Co-op Jirani banking agents. This is supported by 586 ATMs and Internet banking.

Co-op Bank began rolling out the in-branch agent scheme in September 2015 under the project dubbed “branch transformation and channels migration”.

The agents inside branches had been earning the same commission rates as those operating outside the bank outlets.

The lender had stationed up to three agents in its banking halls to serve customers instead of the traditional tellers, tasking them with informing customers about agency banking and other out-of-branch products such as mobile money.

Co-op said the model would remain part of its multichannel access strategy, with a key focus on digital banking that is driven by the Mco-op cash mobile wallet. The wallet hosts more than 4.7 million customers.

The bank also runs a partnership with saccos where it provides wholesale banking to more than 464 Front Office Services Activity outlets and issues over one million Sacco-link debit cards.

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