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Bank of Kigali rules out immediate Kenya entry after NSE listing

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Diane Karusisi, CEO, Bank of Kigali. FILE PHOTO
Diane Karusisi, CEO, Bank of Kigali. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Bank of Kigali (BK) Group Plc has no plans to roll out full banking operations in Nairobi in the near-to-medium term, its chief executive has said, citing an already competitive Kenyan banking market.

Rwanda’s largest lender by assets, which cross-listed shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) on Friday, has since February 2013 been operating a representative office in Nairobi.

Representative offices allow foreign banks to market their products and develop client relationships that can be used in future when the bank decides to set up full operations by opening a subsidiary.

“We still have a lot of opportunities within our home market (Rwanda). It’s a market that we know very well,” group chief executive Diane Karusisi said in Nairobi.

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“The Kenyan market is already highly competitive. So, we really want to satisfy the needs in our market before thinking of venturing into new markets in the region.”

Bank of Kigali, the banking arm of the BK Group, which also has interest in insurance and investments, will get the lion’s share of the Sh6.91 billion recently raised in a cash call to support its growth strategy, Dr Karusisi said.

The strategy is heavy on penetrating the largely untapped retail banking segment with a key focus on digital banking which will get $10 million (Sh1.03 billion) targeted at new systems in 18 months.

“We believe after we have completed these investments in transformation of our digital architecture and infrastructure, we will offer all financial services on fingertips of our clients,” she said.

Bank of Kigali is among nine foreign banks with liaison offices in Nairobi, which the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) — the banking regulator — has licensed to do research, marketing and liaison roles on behalf of the parent bank and its affiliates.

The offices are, however, barred from engaging in commercial banking services.

Business deals by the representative offices jumped 24.69 per cent last year to $3.03 billion from $2.43 billion in 2016, says the latest CBK Annual Banking Supervision report.

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