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Kenya

Gulf Bank expansion plan on course

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Gulf African Bank, the first fully Shar’iah compliant bank in Kenya has said it is on course with its aggressive branch expansion program to fully establish its presence and accessibility in the country.

Gulf African Bank Chairman Suleiman Shahbal said the program had seen it increase its branch network to nine following the opening of the Enterprise Road and Eastleigh outlets.

“As the curtains come down on our first phase of branch expansion, we are proud of what we have achieved so far. This attests to the fact that we are committed to bringing Shariah compliant banking to Kenyans countrywide,” Mr Shahbal said. The bank was registered in November 2007 and started its operations in January 2008.

The Enterprise Centre Branch, he added, would ensure that residents and businesses in Industrial area, South B, South C and Nairobi West have accessibility to Shar’iah compliant products while the Eastleigh branch, which is the bank’s third branch in the locale, will serve the increased business community in the area.

Islamic banking is a system of trade where goods and services are sold and capital is invested to earn profit but prohibits the concept of interest from financial transactions.

The second phase of branch expansion, he revealed would commence almost immediately with new branches in Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu followed by outlets in Western and Rift Valley regions.

“Our aim is to have a presence in as many regions of Kenya as possible by the end of this year,” he vowed.

At the same time leading Muslim scholars held a seminar in Garissa on Friday to discuss emerging issues in Islamic Banking.

During the round-table organised by Barclays Bank of Kenya, the scholars observed that the bank was continuously looking at ways to enhance its products and services to ensure that it meet the evolving needs of its customers.

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