Banks eyeing Kenya debut to wait longer for licences

Sunday January 24 2016

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge during a press conference at the bank on December 22, 2015. International banks making overtures to Kenya will have to wait longer as Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge says he is not ready to lift a moratorium on licensing. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge during a press conference at the bank on December 22, 2015. International banks making overtures to Kenya will have to wait longer as Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge says he is not ready to lift a moratorium on licensing. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By OTIATO GUGUYU
More by this Author

International banks making overtures to Kenya will have to wait longer as Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge says he is not ready to lift a moratorium on licensing.

CBK suspended the licensing of new banks on November 17, saying it needed to strengthen oversight.

Last week, Mr Njoroge said there were no timelines for lifting the ban, but that they would want to keep it temporary and short.

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) had made inroads into Kenya before the ban while New York-based lender JPMorgan Chase had expressed interest in setting up a representative office.

Qatari National Bank (QNB) has been advertising its financial results in local dailies for the third year in a row, although its intentions remain unclear.

“I cannot say whether they (QNB) have approached us but many banks would want to come to the Kenyan market.

We are saying the moratorium is still on until we strengthen our supervision,” Dr Njoroge said on the sidelines of a press briefing on Thursday.

QATARI NATIONAL BANK

QNB, the largest bank in the Middle East and Northern Africa, took out a full-page advert in newspapers on Wednesday to disclose its results for 2015, where it made an 8 per cent increase in profit from 2014 to post $3.2 billion (Sh317 billion).

The bank, with a whopping $147.9 billion (Sh14.2 trillion) in assets, has been consistently publishing its results in Kenya, even though banks only publish financial statements in markets they are licensed to offer banking services.

Even international banks with representative offices here do not publish financial statements locally.

It is unclear whether QNB, which acquired 23.5 per cent of Ecobank International in September last year, has intentions of increasing its presence in the country.

When Kenya floated the Eurobond last year, QNB Capital placed a bid of $200 million (Sh20.4 billion).

The group has expressed an interest in arranging a Sukuk (sovereign bond) for Kenya.

UAE’s largest Islamic lender, Dubai Islamic Bank, had already hired a chief executive and recruited over 30 employees to help it set up base in Kenya.