CBA in Bid to Acquire Crane Bank Rwanda

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Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), which is majority-owned by the Kenyatta family is in advanced stage to acquire the Rwandese subsidiary of Uganda’s Crane Bank.

CBA already operates an equivalent of mobile banking service M-Shwari in Rwanda using a microfinance licence.

The Nairobi-based lender is looking to outbid rival banks that are also seeking to purchase Crane Bank Rwanda branches currently owned by Dfcu Bank.

The Bank of Uganda last October took over the management of Crane Bank — at the time the country’s fourth-largest lender — due to under-capitalisation and in January sold it to Dfcu, which is now seeking to offload the Rwandese unit.

If CBA is successful in its bid, the mid-tier Kenyan lender will have a physical presence in four countries, including Uganda and Tanzania, moving it closer to its target of having operations in 10 African countries.

Sources indicate that Dfcu’s sale of part of its Rwandese business is now awaiting regulatory approval and that the deal should be complete by the end of this month.

The transaction price and timelines for conclusion of the deal are not yet clear.

The family also awakened hospitality giant Heritage Hotels East Africa with a management shakeup and the announcement of an expansion plan that aims at giving it a presence in the Kenyan capital Nairobi for the first time.

The lender also plans to extend the service to the Ivory Coast. CBA approves between 80,000 and 100,000 loan applications per day on M-Shwari.

Each transaction averages Sh3, 400, highlighting the success that the five-year-old product has enjoyed.

Core business

The lender, however, has been keen to grow its core business, with one of its strategies being to have a presence where its Kenyan corporate customers have operations in the region.

Isaac Awuondo, CBA Group’s managing director, has previously stated that the lender plans to set up shop in all Eastern African nations, with branches in South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

The bank has also said it is targeting Mozambique, DRC and Ethiopia through an online presence. CBA has two branches in Uganda, 11 in Tanzania and 33 in Kenya.




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