Rwanda’s financial sector is reportedly growing at 20 per cent every year over the past five years. As a result, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a strong player in the East African banking industry recently opened shop in Kigali. Magnus Mazimpaka hard earlier on caught up with the bank’s group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Martin Oduor-Otieno, on the bank’s prospects in Rwanda. Below are excerpts.
What are you going to do in the Rwandan market that others have not done?
It is important to understand that KCB is a very large regional bank. We operate in five countries. We are in Kenya, Uganda, southern Sudan Tanzania and now opening in Rwanda.
This means that we will be able to offer our customers the whole regional platform to do business so that if you are doing business in Rwanda you can bank with KCB here and you can transact business in Kenya or any of these other countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Sudan extra that should help create efficiencies and reduce costs among the investing and trading in public specifically for Rwanda.
We have a large range of products. We have products for the personal sector savings and current account over drafts and loans.
We have products for the business for the cooperate sector in terms again of loans current accounts over drafts, trade financial products and a mortgage opposition where we give loans for people to buy houses or construct houses and commercial property.
We are also very strong in the card business credit and card business so that entire sheet of products is what we are bringing into this country. In addition to that we got a very well trained staff and therefore customer service is going to be one of the key deliverables for this business in Rwanda.
Do you intend to finance mortgage schemes as well?
Well we will have to obviously understand why the Rwanda population is not in mortgaging. There will be some banking education to be done to explain what a mortgage is.
When we come on ground then we shall exactly try
to see the best way of promoting that product because house hold ownership is what we see as very important for people to invest.
We have seen that this is a growing area across all the countries where we operate we have got a long history of mortgage in Kenya which is the home of KCB. We are a large mortgage player and therefore our experience their can be transferred here as well.
How will Kenyans, or Kenya as a country, benefit from your entry to the Rwandan market?
It’s similar to what I said because it will give opportunity to people to do business out of Kenya and in the rest of the region. We are here to support who ever is doing business in Rwanda.
We do know that there are Kenyans and Kenyan business here in Rwanda whom we would like to support. We know that their are Rwandese business people who are doing business in Kenya or with Kenya we would like to give them that platform for business and obviously as a business we would like to make returns out of our investments.
And as I said KCB is a large Pan-African bank and because of that our expansion to other countries is to ensure that we are facilitating trade and investment across the continent
How secure is your business?
One of the attractions in Rwanda is that it is a country that has been growing up wards by 78 percent for a long time now. Therefore the economic growth and management is strong in this country.
And we would like to be part of those institutions that are helping the country to continue to achieve its economic aspirations for the country.
We are really a strong bank, we got a strong balance sheet, top of our assets we have $3b you know market capitalization in the excess of one billion dollars and therefore we have got strong capital from the center.
As a group we believe that we will be able to operate here as a strong financial institution and that we are able to support this country from the home country where we have got a very strong business.
Also, I must say, our expediencies in the market where we have gone we have ended up creating job opportunities for the citizens of those countries if I give an example we just opened up business in Uganda one year ago today we employ 165 people in Uganda out of whom 160 are Ugandans citizens and only 5 are expatriates out of Kenya, the same story in Tanzania today we employ close to 200 people and 195 of them are Tanzanian citizens and we would see the same story playing itself here that as we expand a year down the road we will have created a lot of jobs for Rwandan citizens.
What is special about the Rwandan market - so young - compared to others in the region like Kenya and Uganda?
The Rwandan market in our view is a market that has come out very strongly we believe that the leadership has given it the right focus on the right direction as I have said we have seen a very good economical growth rate.
We have been able to get our banking license with in a very short time, the people at Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA), the Rwanda Revenue
Authority, Central Bank, the mayor of Kigali and every body around and the president all send out a strong message.