The Kenya Commercial Bank Sudan is to invest $5 million in more than 10 states in the politically-unstable country.
According to the bank’s managing director in-charge of Sudan operations Sammy Itemere, the move is to ensure the bank’s presence in all cities housing government offices.
This year, Mr Itemere said, they will be opening an additional nine branches. The work on the project has already started.
“We had projected to open these branches by last year but due to the state of the country’s infrastructure, we pushed it to this year. This logistics nightmare has posed a great challenge to our operations,” he said.
He however, noted that despite the infrastructural and political challenges there was a huge potential in the country as it was chiefly a net importer of major commodities from the international market.
“The Sudan market is dynamic and very volatile as well. Our coming to this country before the elections (which took place last week) as well as the 2011 referendum will cultivate goodwill from the public and give us a competitive advantage,” he said.
The bank, whose local customer base is 70 per cent, is currently exploiting the huge demand in the real estate sector.
The bank is giving out loans to finance rehabilitation initiatives by owners of dilapidated properties within the central business districts of major towns in Southern Sudan.
Mr Itemere said KCB Sudan’s dream is to have the entire country covered by its network as it seeks to consolidate its financial muscle amid growing competition.
This year, he said, the bank will open an additional 19 automated teller machines both at new branches and off-site zones.
The bank’s operations in Sudan kicked off in December 2005 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Kenya Commercial Bank.
KCB-Sudan then became part of the KCB Group, which comprises KCB Kenya, KCB Tanzania and Savings and Loan Kenya, KCB Uganda Ltd as well as KCB Rwanda.
Services offered by the bank include foreign exchange products whereby one can buy or sell major foreign currencies (dollar, euro and sterling pound’ over the counter at any of its branches countrywide.
Other services include swift transfers, foreign drafts, travellers cheques and foreign currency accounts.
Last year, KCB Group recorded a Ksh6.3 billion ($83.9 million) pre-tax profit up from Ksh6 billion ($80 million) in 2008.
The bank’s performance was primarily driven by net interest income, which grew by 23 per cent from Ksh11.8 billion ($157 million) in 2008 to Ksh14.5 billion ($193 million) as revenues from foreign exchange and fees and commissions remained flat.