Kagame Attends 50th BK Anniversary

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By Dan Ngabonziza

President Paul Kagame attended the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of Bank of Kigali’s celebration of 50 years anniversary held at the Kigali Convention Centre.

While addressing participants at a gala dinner to celebrate golden jubilee of Bank of Kigali Ltd – Kagame said: “The habit of saving serves to make us more future-minded, more optimistic and better at planning ahead.”

For the President Kagame, banking is not all about the numbers. “It is really about the hopes and dreams of real people, having the personal financial security to be able to face life’s challenges without undue anxiety, building homes for our families and saving for our children’s education.”

At the event, Kagame was the first BK customer to be offered the ‘Platinum Visa Card’ – the bank’s latest product on the market which facilitates its customers to make payments wherever they are including payment of air tickets.

He promised to be a good user of the card. “Thank you for the platinum card. I will put it to good use. I was told it is useful to travelers especially using it in lounges and all kinds of facilities. Certainly I am also one of those travelers that should be happy to enjoy the facilities.”

According to Marc Holtzman, Bank of Kigali Board Chair, with Platinum Credit Card, “you can transact in 5 different currencies; Rwanda Francs, US dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds as well as Euros.”

Kagame thanked the Bank for turning a healthy profit to its shareholders.

“The company turned a healthy profit for shareholders last year, which gave it a privilege of being Rwanda’s biggest taxpayer. When private sector is doing well, we are all doing well. Congratulations Bank of Kigali.”

In March this year, the country’s largest bank by assets, announced a pre-tax profit of Rwf30 billion (approx. $36million) in 2016, with a proposed 40% dividends to its shareholders. The Bank’s CEO, Dr. Diane Karusisi, said then that the bank’s double digit growth in 2016, “was attributed to customer loyalty and growth in its corporate, Small and Medium Enterprises loan book.”

At a general assembly of the bank yesterday, Bank of Kigali board members approved a 40% dividend worth Rwf8, 302,347,000 payout on the bank’s audited International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)-based net income for the year 2016.

The payout represents an increase of Rwf115, 022,008 from Rwf8, 187,324,992 worth dividends given to shareholders in 2015.

In August 2011, Government sold its 45 percent stake in Bank of Kigali for $62.5 million in an initial public offer, with shares priced at Rwf125.00 in the Initia Public Offer (IPO) in which the government was offloading 300.3 million shares. The IPO was immediately oversubscribed by 274 percent.

Kagame said the Bank of Kigali could not have reached this point without hard work and prudential management. He, however, reminded the bank officials that: “Every milestone is a springboard to do even more.” He added that the story of Bank of Kigali “is really the story of Rwanda’s financial sector as a whole.”

As the bank celebrated 50 years of its existence, Dr. Diane Karusisi, said “We want to commit to excellence, to innovate because we want to remain relevant in for the next 50 years.”

She also cited some of the new brands the bank launched this year such as establishing an insurance company (BK Insurance), BK tech house – Rwf300 million tech subsidiary of the bank that seeks to be the centre of exploring new digital solutions with plans to target sectors such as education, agriculture, and health in a way that creates business opportunities for the bank while solving problems.

Bank of Kigali insurance wing has 13 products including an unusual service where a client can be allowed up to Rwf2 million on personal accident at only Rwf600 monthly subscription.

At the golden jubilee celebrations, Sulfo Industries – Rwanda’s second largest manufacturing company with subsidiaries in Europe and Africa, was recognised as the oldest account holder in the ban – having opened a corporate account with Bank of Kigali in 1967. The industry has been royal since then and is still very active today. Charles Karara, another longest account holder with the bank was also recognized at the event.

The bank also recognized its longest serving employees with 40 years of combined service between them.

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