Mauritius firm to take over 75pc of Chase Bank business

Saturday January 13 2018

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge. NMG

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge. He said SBM intends to take up the maximum number of Chase Bank staff and branches. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

By REUTERS
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Mauritius’s SBM Holdings, a financial services company, will acquire 75 per cent of the value of certain deposits of Kenya’s Chase Bank plus matched liabilities, the Kenyan central bank said on Friday.

In addition to banking, SBM Holdings has an asset management and stockbroking unit. It has a presence in Madagascar and India.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has been seeking a strategic investor for Chase Bank, which has been under receivership since April 2016 after failing to meet its financial obligations.

CBK said last week that SBM Holdings had made a binding offer for some of the bank’s assets and liabilities.

“We are in the home stretch,” CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge told the press about the offer. Depositors at Chase Bank will have access to 75 per cent of their money in the next few months.

Mr Njoroge said these deposits were not blocked or contested in court cases related to the bank’s receivership. “On the loans side, it will take a bit more time,” Mr Njoroge said.

He said that SBM also intended to take up the maximum number of Chase Bank staff and branches but did not give details.

Chase was the third medium-to-small lender to be closed in Kenya over a period of nine months, rattling investors in East Africa’s richest economy, where the level of gross non-performing loans reported by banks rose sharply in 2015.

The CBK has not found a solution for the remaining 25 per cent of Chase Bank not acquired by SBM, Mr Njoroge said and neither did he give a value for the stake purchased by SBM.

Kenya’s Chase Bank has no relation to JP Morgan Chase & Co of the US.