MD & CEO, FAMILY BANK
As a young girl, Rebecca Mbithi always aspired to achieve greatness. She embarked on her journey through her educational choices, recognising the importance of being multi-skilled and adaptable in an ever-evolving world.
She began with a degree in Law while simultaneously pursuing Accounting qualifications and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. It is this versatility that enabled her seamless transition from a proficient corporate lawyer to forging a career in banking.
This year marks the fourth anniversary of Rebecca Mbithi’s appointment at the helm of Family Bank, and it has been eight and a half years since she joined the Bank as Company Secretary and Director of Legal Services in 2015. “When I took over as the CEO, my focus was to strategically grow the Family Bank brand and drive value for our customers and shareholders. We aimed to position Family Bank as the most innovative for our customers and as a competitive employer that attracts and retains highly skilled individuals,” Ms Mbithi stated.
She has since presided over and successfully transformed Family Bank into a profitable entity with assets totaling KES 132.8 billion as of June 2023, while being instrumental in developing a niche for the Bank. Ms Mbithi leads a team of over 1,000 employees and emphasises the Bank’s positioning as a small and medium enterprise (SME)-focused institution.
In April 2021, the Bank successfully redeemed its five-and-a-half-year Medium-Term Note valued at KES 2.0188 billion. Subsequently, it raised KES 4.42 billion, achieving a subscription rate of 147.3 percent just two months later in the initial tranche of its corporate bond offering via public placement.
The Bank has also secured over KES 5 billion through strategic partnerships to further enhance financial inclusion. Since its return to the debt market, Family Bank has received recognition and accolades for revitalising the bond market in Kenya. In 2021, it received prestigious awards including the Financial Communication Campaign of the Year and Overall Public Relations Campaign of the Year at the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Annual Awards for Excellence.
During Ms Mbithi’s tenure, the Bank has maintained a stable outlook, underpinned by a strong market position, a robust funding base, and excellent liquidity, as recognised by Global Credit Rating, a South African rating firm. Additionally, for the third consecutive year, the Bank has been honoured as the best tier two bank. Family bank has also been recognised among the top-performing banks in terms of customer responsiveness and satisfactory digital experiences by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA).
Professionally, Ms Mbithi holds an Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Strategic Management from the United States International University – Africa (USIU-A), and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN). She is a Member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), the Institute of Certified Secretaries ICPS (K), an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a Member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). She is also a Certified Executive Coach.
The CEO, who has completed all of the world’s major marathons, including the New York, Chicago, and London marathons, has achieved the prestigious distinction of earning the coveted Six Star General title, making her the ninth Kenyan to accomplish this remarkable feat. She likens leadership to running a marathon. “Leadership is not a sprint in my view. It takes a lot of patience and endurance to bear fruits. Family Bank has put in the work and laid the foundation through strong governance and ethical practices, coupled with highly skilled teams. We are seeing the fruits of the planning and the investments in training that we have deliberately taken in collaboration with Strathmore Business School,” Ms Mbithi comments.
Ms Mbithi’s influence extends beyond Family Bank; she is actively contributing to the growth of the banking industry. She is the Vice Chairperson of KBA and holds a position as a Board Trustee of The Family Group Foundation: the sustainability vehicle of the bank.
In 2022, she was appointed by HE President Dr William Ruto to the Steering Committee on National Drought, showcasing her commitment to broader national initiatives.
Ms Mbithi has been honoured with the African CEO of the Year Commendation Award at the African Business Leadership Awards. Her impressive achievements have also earned her recognition among the Top 25 CEOs Setting the Business Agenda (2021), the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in the C-Suite (2022), both by Business Monthly EA magazine, as well as the Top 100 Women CEOs in Africa (2022).
When reflecting on one of her proudest moments during her leadership tenure, Ms Mbithi expressed with confidence, “It is remarkable what we have accomplished through The Family Group Foundation. In the education sector, we provide scholarships to over 1,000 students; in the field of environmental conservation, we have restored 10 acres of the Ngong Forest; in economic empowerment, we provide technical and financial training coupled with sexual and reproductive health support to vulnerable young women. We also facilitate market linkages through the USAID Tumikia Mtoto Programme.”
On what’s next for the CEO as she leads the bank, Ms Mbithi has a clear-cut vision: to drive efficiencies while creating a differentiated customer experience anchored on heavy investment in digital banking, a strategic move as Family Bank approaches its 40th anniversary.