Bank of Kigali gets licence to open office in Kenya

Tuesday February 19 2013

Bank of Kigali headquarters. BK has been allowed to operate a representative office in Kenya, making it the first bank from the East African Community to set up operations in the region’s largest economy. Photo/FILE

Bank of Kigali headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda. BK has been allowed to operate a representative office in Kenya, making it the first bank from the East African Community to set up operations in the region’s largest economy. Photo/FILE 

By David Mugwe

Bank of Kigali (BK) has been allowed to operate a representative office in Kenya, making it the first foreign bank from the East African Community (EAC) to set up operations in Nairobi.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), in a statement on Tuesday said that it had authorised BK to set up in Kenya, a move that will allow it to expand its business in the region.

BK, which is listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange, is Rwanda’s largest lender by assets.

“The Bank of Kigali through its representative office in Kenya seeks to explore potential business opportunities in the country with a view to evaluating the prospects for a long term presence in Kenya,” said CBK.

The move to allow BK to set up in Kenya comes a day after the banking regulator authorised the Central Bank of India, a commercial bank, to open up a representative office in the region’s largest economy.

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

Kenya’s banking regulator said that BK’s presence stands to benefit from the business opportunities that are expected to increase across EAC member states, adding that the banking sector has continued to attract increasing interest from Pan-African, regional and global brands.

“The entry of foreign banks into Kenya’s financial sector will promote competition and diversity of financial products and services on offer,” said CBK.

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