Bank of Kigali, Central Bank of India get Kenya office nods By NATION Reporters | Tuesday, February 19  2013 at  17:27

Bank of Kigali headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda. BK has been allowed to operate a representative office in Kenya, making it the first bank from the East African Community to set up operations in the region’s largest economy.   FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Bank of Kigali (BK) has been allowed to operate a representative office in Kenya, making it the first foreign bank from the East African Community (EAC) to set up operations in Nairobi.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has also allowed the Central Bank of India to run a representative office in Kenya.

This means that both banks can market themselves in the country, but are not allowed to do banking business yet.

CBK in a statement on Tuesday said that it had authorised Bank of Kigali to set up in Kenya, a move that will allow it to expand its business in the region.

Bank of Kigali, which is listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange, is Rwanda’s largest lender by assets.

“The Bank of Kigali through its representative office in Kenya seeks to explore potential business opportunities in the country with a view to evaluating the prospects for a long term presence in Kenya,” said CBK.

The move to allow BK to set up in Kenya comes a day after the banking regulator authorised the CBI, a commercial bank with $50 billion in assets, to open its representative office in the region’s largest economy. (Read: India's top bank gets Kenya nod)

Representative offices allow foreign banks to market their products and develop relationships that can be used in future when the bank decides to set up full operations.

Kenya’s banking regulator said that Bank of Kigali’s presence stands to benefit from the business opportunities that are expected to increase across EAC member states, adding that the banking sector has continued to attract increasing interest from pan-African, regional and global brands.

"The entry of foreign banks into Kenya’s financial sector will promote competition and diversity of financial products and services on offer,” said CBK.