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VENTURES AFRICA- Nigeria’s largest lender by market value, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GT Bank), has officially began operations in Kenya after securing necessary regulatory approvals in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for its 70 percent stake purchase of East Africa’s Fina Bank Group .
Following the acquisition, Fina Bank will surrender operations under its own brand with all its branches rebranding to Guaranty Trust Bank. The new entities in each of these countries will now be known as Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya, Guaranty Trust Bank Rwanda and Guaranty Trust Bank Uganda, respectively.
GT Bank which already operates in six West African countries purchased 70 percent of Fina Bank for $100 million last year to gain access into East African countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
GT Bank has already injected $30 million into its new Kenyan business and it plans to invest in several other areas including information technology systems while improving its other assets to meet that of biggest lenders like Equity Bank and Barclays Kenya.
It hopes to achieve its aim by focusing on existing businesses like personal lending and seizing new opportunities such as oil and gas.
“There are about six banks which are considered Tier 1. We are going to move this bank from where it is to just under the Tier 1 banks over a five-year period,” Guaranty Trust Bank Group Chief Executive Officer Segun Agbaje said at a Press Conference.
“When you come into any market you have to bring something different,” the CEO added.
Agbaje also revealed that the bank plans to expand into Tanzania in the next three years.
Other Nigerian banks that have extended their operations to Kenya include UBA and Ecobank.
“The acquisition of Fina Bank operations in the region makes strategic sense for both customers and shareholders. Fina Bank has over the years built an enviable banking institution in East Africa; our combined strengths will help us build an attractive portfolio of leading products, services and marketing capabilities,” Agbaje explained.
“Over the next few months we will be integrating Fina Bank Group into the Guaranty Trust Bank Group…this will not affect our operations or the level of service delivery for existing customers,” he added.
Fina Bank Group Chairman, Dhanu Chandaria on his part said: “We look forward to working together in continuing to build the bank, as part of the Guaranty Trust Bank Group, leveraging on our respective strengths and creating a winning combination for all our stakeholders in East Africa.”
Headquartered in Lagos, GT Bank is one of Nigeria’s biggest banks with operations spanning Anglophone West Africa and the United Kingdom. It is listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (1996), London Stock Exchange (2007) and the Deutsche Börse (2007).