Maurice Toroitich is the MD KCB Rwanda. Oluoch-Ojiwah Fred caught up with him on KCB’s entry strategy. Below are the excerpts
Why is KCB in Rwanda?
We are in Rwanda to pursue part of our planned Regional and Pan African agenda as elsewhere in this coverage. In addition to this Rwanda is strategically located.
She has political stability, a growing economy, a favorable investment climate, and a stable banking sector underpinned by a regulatory environment.
How thorough is your pre-entry study?
We undertook a thorough feasibility study and we were satisfied with the economic fundamentals.
The study showed that the market was ready for the entry of KCB, and that we would be able to make a return on our investment.
It is on the basis of the study that a decision was taken to invest over US$ 10m in Rwandan economy.
How are you going to handle challenges emanating from the sector’s lack of gaps within professional staff as well as client’s understanding of 21st century banking systems?
While the Rwandan banking sector may not be as developed as it is in other countries within the region, this is a matter on which we take a long term view.
We will invest in educating and developing our staff through attachments in Kenya and training at our world class leadership centre in Nairobi, in addition to this our staff will have the opportunity to attend international seminars and training.
We will play our rightful role in Rwanda Bankers Association, working with other stakeholders through lobbying, consulting and advising to modernize the industry and adopt the best practices that we are used to.
Rwanda like any other developing country has a section of the population that is presently unbanked. KCB has a wealth of experience in rural banking given our network across Kenya.
We shall utilize the experience and skills obtained to drive a similar agenda with a local touch.
Give an overview of your expansion strategy. Give numbers based on your projections.
Our decision to make a Greenfield entry and grow organically, means that we will have to expand aggressively, to ensure we have a good network to grow our business.
In 2009 we will open 7 additional branches and install 8 ATM’s all over the country.
Are we likely to see drama in the true sense of the word with your entry?
Once we begin to carry out our marketing campaigns we will certainly be noticed.
How are you going to handle competition as it is bound to be very stiff?
Competition is part of the game, it is a good thing as it motivates improvement.
Our agenda will not be in fighting over the existing markets but rather in developing and growing the banking sector in which case every player is a winner because we will all be competitive in the market.
If however customers prefer our services they will be most welcome.
How is your CSR program designed?
The bank’s CSR programmes are targeted at a cross-section of social sectors under the themes of environment, health, education, entrepreneurship, water, sanitation, welfare and sports.
Last year, the bank released its first sustainability report that examines our business impacts on the three pillars of sustainability and taking steps to mitigate those impacts through commitment to our sustainability agenda in the social, economic and environmental sphere.
Lets go back to banking the unbanked. What’s the way forward for the industry in terms of getting those who don’t use banking?
The only way forward, is to design products that meet the needs of those considered to be unbanked, and to take time to sensitize and educate them on how having a bank account will improve their lives.