Ugandan bank eyes Rwanda market

Crane Bank, one of the largest locally-owned commercial banks in Uganda, has applied for a licence to operate in Rwanda, according to the National Bank of Rwanda.

Crane Bank, one of the largest locally-owned commercial banks in Uganda, has applied for a licence to operate in Rwanda, according to the National Bank of Rwanda.

Joy Ntare, the director for financial stability, confirmed the development, adding that the central bank was carrying out technical evaluation of the application. She noted that the financial stability committee board would sit next month to decide on the bank’s application.

“We cannot confirm anything to the public now because it’s a long process before any bank, especially a foreign bank, is allowed into the market,” explained Ntare.

If approved, the bank will be venturing into a market already dominated by Bank of Kigali, Commercial Bank of Rwanda, Kenya Commercial Bank and Fina Bank and a myriad of microfinance institutions. It will be the first indigenous bank to venture outside Uganda.

Crane Bank’s managing director A.R. Kalan was optimistic that once the licence is secured, they would start operations in the first quarter of 2014.

“We want to make permanent presence there and take good quality service to Rwanda,” he said.

According to the Doing Business in the East African Community 2013 report, Rwanda ranks 23rd globally on the ease of getting credit. The World Bank study ranked Kenya top in 12th position and Uganda was ranked 40th in the over 100 countries surveyed.

Crane Bank’s entry will mean more competition and improved access to finance and diversity in financial products and services banks offer, according to experts.

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