Egypt’s Banque Misr seeks nod enter the Kenyan market

KENYA – Banque Misr, Egypt’s second-largest bank, says it has formally applied for a Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) licence to enter the Kenyan market as it seeks lending deals in East Africa and serving Egyptian firms operating in the region, reports Business Daily.

The State-run bank, which in 2020 hinted of plans to enter Kenya said the licence applications to Kenyan regulators were made alongside similar applications in Somalia and Djibouti.

The lender’s vice chairman Akef El Maghraby was quoted announcing the move at a business forum held in Egypt.

However, the Business Daily did not get a confirmation from the regulator on the licence plans and whether the lender is looking to set up branches or a representative office.

Information on the bank’s website also showed the lender is headhunting senior managers to be in charge of various banking divisions locally, ostensibly in preparation for the licence nod.

The lender said earlier it planned to open either branches or representative offices in Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti.

Banque Misr Mohamed Eletreby said it would borrow KSh27 billion (US$250 million) from international lenders in 2020 to fund the Kenya expansion, which will also coincide with planned entry into Djibouti and Somalia.

“We are in talks with two international institutions on loans with competitive interest rates,” Mr Eletreby was quoted saying.

The Banque Misr announcement marks the latest declaration of interest by an Egyptian lender to enter Kenya’s market.

Egypt’s largest private lender Commercial International Bank bought a controlling stake in Kenya’s Tier-III Mayfair Bank in a transaction that intensified deal-making in the local banking sector.

The Egyptian banks say they will ride on the billions in annual trade between Egypt and Kenya to gain market share, a pointer that Banque Misr is targeting trade finance.

Kenya has witnessed renewed interest by global banks since the CBK lifted a licensing moratorium in March 2017.

Other lenders, which have expressed interest in Kenya include America’s largest bank JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In July 2020, Access Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading multinational commercial banks entered the Kenyan market following its acquisition of Transnational Bank (Kenya) Plc, a medium-sized commercial bank that mainly focuses on Kenya’s agricultural sector.

If Banque Misr gets a licence from the Central Bank of Kenya, it will be having operations in four African states given that it already has a branch in Cote D’Ivoire.

The bank has about 700 electronically integrated local branches located nationwide to provide the best and most accessible services to customers.

Banque Misr also has a regional and international presence, which includes its five branches in the United Arab Emirates and one in France.

In addition, the bank’s international presence includes subsidiaries in Lebanon and Germany, as well as representative offices in China, Russia, South Korea and Italy and a global network of correspondents.

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