Top 25 Most Powerful Women in C-Suite Impacting Business

Edith Chumba's banking style is underpinned on her passion for service excellence and has anchored most of the business decisions on customer feedback. The bank is committed to building a service culture that is focused on addressing client needs.


Edith Chumba


Extremely intelligent though humble. Focused though humane. No non-sense though in a polite way. Customer-centric to a faulty. That is Edith Chumba, a seasoned consumer banker with extensive C-Suite experience that spans over 25 years.

Currently the Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking at Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) of Kenya, a role that covers the Uganda and Tanzania markets, Edith has been with SCB for the last 6 years. She previously worked at Barclays Bank of Kenya (now ABSA) for 20 years within Retail Banking, where she held various senior positions.

While at Barclays Bank, Edith cut her teeth as one of the most sought-after senior bank managers whose exit from the bank drew disappointments from high-level customers most of who opted to move with her. A professional to boot, she advised them to retain their accounts at Barclays Bank, a true testament of Edith’s integrity and impeccable character, as a career banker.

At SCB, Edith’s focus is to ignite the ambition of the teams she leads across the E.A. cluster, to deliver purposeful banking services and products to clients. She has ably and with singular purpose championed the digitization agenda to drive financial inclusion across the Personal, Affluent and Business Banking segments.

Throughout her career, Edith has been driven by her quest for excellence and exceptional people’s skills, that she has since transformed to customer centric experience. She has since been joined at SCB by the amiable and equally able Anne Alele Handa, another pleasant, exceptional and always cordial career banker. Both ladies understand who a bank customer is to the bottom line and will take decisive action and bear the brunt of their actions, rather than to procrastinate and inconvenience a customer irreparably as most bankers do. Edith and Anne are in a league of their own in the banking industry in Kenya.

Thanks to this rare breed of serious women that make the majority of the C-Suite, at SCB, the Consumer Banking business has shown resilience despite the challenging business environment that has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented period, she also focused on the safety of staff and clients visiting the bank by ensuring all health protocols on Covid-19 are observed.

To mitigate the adverse effects of Covid-19, Edith led SCB in contributing towards the support for over 6,000 clients with the credit relief programme.

Edith’s banking style is underpinned on her passion for service excellence and has anchored most of the business decisions on customer feedback. The bank is committed to building a service culture that is focused on addressing client needs. This is demonstrated in the strong client value propositions across all the three segments that SCB serves.

‘We look out for relevant partners to help us deliver not only financial services, but also non-financial services. For instance, Consumer Banking signed a partnership agreement with AMREF last year to help clients with emergency evacuation services. The initiative has helped many of our clients to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic,’ posits Edith.

She adds, ‘Another example is the partnership with Lenovo to create access for school-going children to purchase computers at discounted prices.  This was a major success and clients were able to comfortably adapt to a home learning model for their children, during the nationwide lock-downs.’

To date, Edith’s banking leadership growth approach is to focus on areas where SCB can have high impact on the lives of its client base.

From a forward-looking perspective, Edith believes that digitization is a critical area that will revolutionize the lives of Kenyans. She avers that Covid-19 pandemic is reshaping how banks and non-bank players are delivering. The African continent has witnessed an increase in the use of digital payment platforms as governments disseminate stimulus funds to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This means not just safer, cashless payments to facilitate social distancing, but in the longer-term, it also means a shift towards financial inclusion that could help get the economy back on track.

Standard Chartered Bank Chief Operating Officer Peter Gitau, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kariuki Ngari and Head of Retail Edith Chumba launching the SCB and Liverpool FC Visa debit co-brand card.

SCB has invested heavily in building a robust digital platform that enables clients to open accounts, transact conveniently and most importantly access investment and insurance solutions.

‘We have embedded over 70 client services on the SC Mobile application for Retail clients, thus enabling us to scale up client acquisition at a much lower cost. As a result, 60 per cent of all service requests previously done at the branch level are now being fulfilled on the SC Mobile App,’ she adds.

‘The motivation is to support the younger generation to create, build and protect their wealth. This is an innovation that differs from the traditional banking model that was only focused on cash transactions and lending. The culture of savings and wealth creation is important for the future generation, hence the commitment to start the journey now through SC wealth solutions,’’ Edith opines.

In all these, SCB is proud to provide Kenyans with access to investment opportunities in big global companies including Amazon, Google, and Tesla.

Edith is a big supporter of transformational leadership development. She believes in promoting different thinking styles within the team to identify talent. She leads a diverse team, and fully leverages equity and inclusion to focus the team on solving client problems. The team has huge potential to develop into future leaders and therefore the bank has invested in various learning programs to help staff build new skills required today and in the future.

Davis and Shirtliff Group Chairman Alec Davis (left) and Standard Chartered Bank Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari sign a partnership that will usher in Kenya’s first sustainable finance package aimed at supporting individual clients’ transition to cleaner technologies, harness and scale more climate friendly business practices. Looking on is Standard Chartered’s Head of Sustainable Finance Africa Christopher Kirigua (left), Davis & Shirtliff Group CEO David Gatende (centre) and Standard Chartered’s Head of Retail Banking Edith Chumba.

Under her leadership, SCB has won numerous awards including:

• For the third year running, we were recognised as the best tier 1 bank for digital experience and the best bank overall in the Kenya Bankers Association customer satisfaction survey.
• Globally, Standard Chartered was recognised at the 2020 Global Finance Awards as the Best Digital Consumer Bank.
• More recently, our Fixed Income mobile platform won the Outstanding Customer Experience for Financial Inclusion award from The Digital Banker.
• The Bank was awarded and recognised as the Most Recommended Retail Bank in Kenya and Africa from the Bank Quality Consumer Survey on Retail Banks in 2020 by The Asian Banker. The survey enabled bank customers to rate and comment on their banking experiences and involved 4,000 consumers from Africa (specifically Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa).

She is a Business Manager by profession and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN) and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in Management from University of Sunderland, UK. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), UK and holds their higher diploma certificate.

Outside work, Edith is married with two children and she is passionate about charity work and enjoys singing. Her career success was founded on a strong family background. Her mother was a primary school teacher who largely contributed towards her discipline and commitment to getting things done. Having studied in a Catholic boarding school at a young age, Edith developed a strong sense of independence and hard work that is reflected in her leadership character. She is enthusiastic about driving a culture of problem solving in her personal and work life.


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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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