ZANZIBAR, November 25 – Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has made a return to Zanzibar 113 years after its predecessor, National Bank of India, set up its first branch on African soil.
The bank opened a branch on the island last Friday at a ceremony officiated by Zanzibari President Amani Abeid Karume.
“I commend the KCB Board for their decision to open a branch here, which is a major boost to our financial system,” said the President.
He pledged to support KCB and other indigenous African investors seeking to venture into Zanzibar saying the move was a vote of confidence in the Zanzibari economy.
“KCB is an East African bank which we should all support because its agenda is in line with our development objectives,” said President Karume.
Speaking during the launch, KCB Group Chief Executive Martin Oduor-Otieno said the bank would continue with its expansion plans both on the Island and the mainland Tanzania.
“We intend to increase our branch network from the current six to 12 over the next year to facilitate accessibility of our banking services and promote cross-border trading,” he added.
Meanwhile, KCB continued with its expansion across the region with new branches gearing up for business in Uganda while the Rwanda subsidiary is poised to open its operations in the next week.
In a media brief Mr Oduor-Otieno said the fourth branch of KCB Uganda had opened at Hoima, Western Uganda while Gulu and Lira to the north and Ben Kiwanuka Street Branch in Kampala are expected to be ready in the next few weeks.
“We want to expand our presence in this market and challenge for a bigger pie. By the end of this month we shall have seven operational branches and the Board has approved another four for 2009,” said the bank’s Chief Executive Officer.
KCB Uganda’s other branches are on Kampala Road and Luwum Street in Kampala and Mbarara. Total staff complement exceeds 145 people.
Work is virtually complete for the opening of KCB Rwanda to the public next Wednesday in Kigali, a move that will give the bank presence in five countries in the region. Initial plans indicate that the business will open up to eight branches by the end of next year.
Mr Oduor-Otieno said that the KCB Group Board had appointed Maurice Toroitich to head the subsidiary.
“Maurice brings to KCB (Rwanda) valuable expertise having worked in the banking industry for over 15 years. His immediate priority would be to set up a strategy and structure that would deliver business success in the young subsidiary,” said Mr Oduor-Otieno.
Mr Toroitich joins the bank as Managing Director from CfCStanbic Bank Ltd where he was a Regional Manager in charge of Personal and Business Banking.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Accounting option) from the University of Nairobi and is currently pursuing an MBA at the Strathmore Business School.