KCB Bank has completed the acquisition of Rwanda’s second-largest lender, Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR).
The move is part of an expansion plan that will see KCB gain a stronger footing in Rwanda and the East African region.
The Kenyan lender secured regulatory approvals on Wednesday, effectively acquiring BPR from Atlas Mara Mauritius and Arise B.V. It is now the majority shareholder in BPR, the second of KCB’s banks in the country after KCB Bank Rwanda.
KCB Group boss Joshua Oigara said with the development, the bank now has an edge in deepening its strategy to scale regional presence.
“The combined history of BPR and KCB will take the Group to greater heights, giving us a stronger edge to play a bigger role in driving the financial inclusion and economic empowerment agenda in the East African region,” he said.
He added: “This will increase our scale and improve our operating leverage by enabling us to deliver our existing retail and wholesale offerings to a wider base of customers in Rwanda while positioning the bank for sustainable growth in the long term.”
Mr Oigara’s sentiments echoed those of KCB Group chairman Lawrence Njiru when the bank released its 2021 half-year results.
“Acquisitions have proved to be the easiest way to penetrate new markets,” Mr Njiru said on August 19.
KCB praised BPR as a strong retail and SME bank with a big branch network in the sector, having been in the Rwandan market for over 45 years.
Mr Oigara noted that eventually, KCB’s plan is to create one banking entity in Rwanda to be named BPR Bank, by merging KCB Bank Rwanda and BPR.
KCB has already appointed an integration committee made up of senior executives to spearhead the merger in the coming months.
Aside from Rwanda, KCB is pursuing 100 per cent acquisition of the African Banking Corporation Tanzania Ltd (BancABC) from ABC Holdings Ltd (96.6 per cent) and Tanzania Development Finance Company Ltd (3.4 per cent). The deal is pending approvals from banking regulators.
Mr Oigara exuded confidence that the acquisition of the two will scale up its balance sheet and revenue streams.