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Kenyan bank opens in Rwanda

KIGALI, Rwanda Dec 3 – Operations at the Kenya Commercial Bank’s branch in Rwanda have started after authorities there granted approval.

Officials from the Rwandan central bank – NBR – concluded their inspection of the branch and head office premises on Avenue de la Paix in Kigali at midday on Tuesday and advised the management to commence operations.

"We announce that the National Bank of Rwanda has given KCB Rwanda the go ahead to commence its banking operations immediately," a statement from Maurice Toroitich, the new bank\’s Managing Director said.

Commenting on the news in Nairobi, the KCB Deputy Chief Executive, Group Business, Peter Munyiri, said the development was a culmination of efforts commenced early this year to expand KCB further in the region.

"Our objective for this young subsidiary is to open between eight and 10 branches in the next six months strategically located to support the country\’s economic activities and create synergies with our operations in other regional markets," he said.

Current plans show that the bank will be opening two more branches in Kigali while spreading its presence out to the major towns of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Butare, Cyangugu and Nyagatare in the course of year 2009.

Mr Munyiri said the market was rampant with potential owing to its impressive GDP growth rate, emerging position as East Africa\’s ICT hub and the government\’s efforts to open up the economy and improve the business environment.

"Our feasibility studies showed us that there is immense potential in that country and KCB would like to play a key role in driving the realisation of that potential," he added. 

Mr Toroitich reported on Wednesday morning that potential customers were streaming into the new bank to make enquiries and asserted: "We are ready for business".

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KCB Rwanda will be offering a full suite of banking services targeting individuals, small and medium enterprises as well as large companies.

"KCB Rwanda will operate as a fully fledged commercial bank and will be offering the full range of products and services to all sectors of the economy," said Mr Toroitich.

Rwanda becomes the latest market to attract the region\’s largest commercial bank just over a week after KCB returned to Zanzibar where it was born 113 years ago. The bank now has 155 branches spread over Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Rwanda.  

"We are now truly the only regional bank that offers all its customers products and services on one platform across the region," said Mr Munyiri.

The Deputy Chief Executive added that with the successful implementation of the new T24 IT system, KCB customers would enjoy online one-branch banking at any KCB branch across the region.

"Regional businesses would now find KCB the best partner for their financial requirements due to our unique position," Mr Munyiri said.

KCB\’s next target is Burundi expected to be in operation in 2009.

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