Kenyan mid-tier Commercial Bank Africa (CBA) has acquired Crane Bank Rwanda from Uganda’s Dfcu Bank.
CBA said it received regulatory approvals from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda central banks.
The deal, which was concluded last week, will save the Kenyan lender the lengthy process of starting a greenfield operation as a commercial bank in Rwanda.
CBA has operations in Kenya with 33 branches, Tanzania 11 and two in Uganda. The lender entered Rwanda in 2016 with a microfinance licence offering a mobile banking service, MoCash.
“The Crane Bank deal changed our approach. We got Crane Bank which had a licence. We are going to assume that licence,” said Mr Derrick Ouma, the CBA Rwanda managing director.
CBA signed the acquisition deal for an undisclosed amount last June.
“The entry into Rwanda is a significant milestone in CBA’s long-term strategic aspirations to expand existing businesses operations in key markets within Africa and offer innovative products and solutions,” said Isaac Awuondo, CBA Group Managing Director.
CBA is expected to start banking operations in March in the three branches in Kigali that were owned by Crane Bank.
Uganda's Dfcu Bank bought the collapsed Crane Bank last January from the Bank of Uganda. The regulator had taken over the management of Crane Bank in October 2016 due to undercapitalisation. Dfcu put Crane Bank Rwanda, a subsidiary of the Ugandan leader it acquired, on sale a few months later.
CBA, majority owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta's family, has been seeking to expand operations in all East African countries including Burundi and South Sudan.
The lender is said to also target Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia through an online presence.