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Egypt state bank cleared to set base in Kenya

Misr -SA.E is targeting retail and corporate baking deals, as well as trade finance.

In Summary

•It is the largest commercial bank in the Middle Eastern country by both asset size and market share with presence in South Korea, China, Europe and Russia.

•Misr -SA.E is targeting retail and corporate baking deals, as well as trade finance.

Central bank governor Partick Njoroge speaks to journalists during a press conference at central bank Nairobi on June 20, 2019.
Central bank governor Partick Njoroge speaks to journalists during a press conference at central bank Nairobi on June 20, 2019.
Image: FILE

Egypt bank Bangue Misr -SA.E has received a green light from the Central Bank of Kenya to commence operations in Kenya.

The state-run bank applied for the licence in July 2021 as it sought lending deals in East Africa and a chance to serve Egyptian firms operating in the region.

It is the largest commercial bank in the Middle Eastern country by both asset size and market share with presence in South Korea, China, Europe and Russia.

“This authority is granted pursuant to Section 43 of the Banking Act and follows the fulfilment, by Banque Misr – S.A.E., of the stipulated authorisation requirements,” CBK said .

Misr -SA.E is targeting retail and corporate baking deals, as well as trade finance which it currently offers both locally and internationally.

In a statement on Tuesday, CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said the bank will operate in Kenya under the name Bangue Misr-S.A.E.- Kenya Representative Office.

He said the bank's entry in to Kenya is expected to play a catalytic role in strengthening the long-standing relationship between the two states.

The lender's interest to enter the East African market trails back from 2017  when it formally announced plans to apply for licence  to set up Representative offices in Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.

Last month, it received an okay from Somalia making it the first foreign bank to operate in the country.

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

The central bank had in November 2015 issued a moratorium on licensing new banks in the wake of two banks, Imperial and Dubai banks, being placed under receivership in the space of two months.

The freeze on new bank licensing was seen as a move by the CBK to institute new structures and improve banking supervision in a bid to restore confidence.

The freeze on new licenses however opened a window for mergers and acquisitions.

Even so, foreign lenders continue to expressed interest in Kenya including America’s largest bank JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Egypt’s largest private lender Commercial International Bank last year bought a controlling stake in Kenya’s Tier-III  bank 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.