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Ecobank reaches Karatina town

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30- Ecobank Kenya Limited has announced the opening of a new branch in Karatina town, as part of its expansion and rebranding program.

Ecobank Kenya Acting Managing Director Michael Monari said on Monday that the exercise was part of the bank’s aggressive countrywide branch network expansion in key cities and towns to include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Thika and Kisii.

“Our countrywide expansion to major towns and cities is intended to enable customers to access our range of unique financial services and products more conveniently and readily,” he said during the ceremony.

He added that they would in the next few weeks open additional branches in Nakuru, Nyeri, Malindi and two others in Nairobi’s Westlands and Industrial Area.

The expansion, Mr Monari explained, also includes increasing innovative banking products, services and installing over 100 modern Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) which are VISA, MASTERCARD AND KENSWITCH enabled countrywide.

The bank’s parent company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) which has a presence in 28 African countries, is positioning Kenya as the hub of Eastern and Southern African region operations.

In February this year, ETI raised Sh44 billion ($550.7 million) from a hybrid rights issue and public offer in the Ghana Stock Exchange, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and the Bourse des Valeurs Mobilières Régionales (BVRM) in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) countries.

As a result of the offer, the ETI has bolstered its equity capital to over Sh118.5 billion ($1.5 billion).

“The proceeds are being used to further capitalise the banking subsidiaries of the Group, such as Ecobank Kenya Limited and to finance the expansion of the bank’s services across Africa. Ecobank operates the largest network of banks across Africa,” said Mr Monari.

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Elsewhere Shariah Complaint Bank Gulf African has announced a loss after taxation of Sh281 million due to its increased, operating expenses for its first year of operation ended December 31st 2008.

The bank blames this on the investments it made in hiring and training of personnel, and in building a distribution network for superior service delivery.

However, despite the losses, the management said in a statement that total deposits closed at Sh3.2 billion in the first year while its total assets reached Sh5 billion.

They added that the bank has plans to continue to expand its distribution outlets and would strengthen its services to the corporate, small and medium enterprises (SME), and retail segments.

With global financial markets in disarray, Gulf African Bank expressed optimism that Islamic banking would continues to act as a safer and more ethical financing alternative to that of conventional banking. 

“Gulf African Bank will take advantage of the current financial crisis by continuing to build its portfolio of safer and more ethically sound products than those of most conventional banks.  The bank will also continue to focus on its expansion strategy throughout Kenya,” they vowed.

The bank ended 2008 with nine outlets comprising five branches and four service centres covering Nairobi, Mombasa; and Garissa town. 

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