Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group Plc has fully acquired Rwanda’s most popular bank- Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR) by Atlas Mara Limited.
The acquisition also comes with visible changes in the bank’s name to BPR Bank Rwanda and logo rebranding to a light green and white colors from the former blue, white and red when the bank was run by Atlas Mara Limited.
The bank however retained the BPR name written in Calbri font- which was years ago adopted after Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR) was acquired by Atlas Mara Limited.
In 2020, Atlas Mara Limited and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group Plc signed a definitive agreement to acquire 62.06% of issued shares in Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR), a move which was okayed by the government.
This May 4, 2022, Prime Minister Dr Édouard Ngirente and KCB Group Chairman Andrew Wambai Kairu officially launched BPR Bank Rwanda in a colorful event to mark the journey of the full acquisition held in Kigali city.
PM Ngirente said that “With 154 branches in Rwanda and over 1,300 staff members, the investment that KCB Group has done in Rwanda will greatly enhance the economic empowerment of the Rwandan people,”
Ngirente also said that KCB Group’s continued investment in Rwanda since December 2008 has been a blessing for the Rwandan people.
Governor of National Bank of Rwanda, John Rwangombwa said that the Central Bank will continue supporting the financial sector to ensure not only it’s scale, but the economic and social impact it will have on the East African people.
Kenya Central Bank Governor, Patrick Njoroge also touched on the need for Eastern Africa regional integration of financial operations saying that as a Central Bank their vision is to build an industry that works for all East Africans and as such, the BPR Bank Rwanda as a new entity is a step in the right direction.
“A lot more needs to be done to meet financing needs in the region such as infrastructure, manufacturing and greening our economy. This can only be enhanced by integration and consolidation,” Njoroge said.
In this regard, KCB Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) Joshua Oigara stated that the BPR Rwanda ‘new entity’ will allow its customers to enjoy exciting retail and wholesale offerings and the wide branch network is an opportunity for us to roll out products and services to MSMEs and the rural community in Rwanda.
“With our enhanced scale as KCB Group, we will be able to invest more in building a sustainable business as we have a duty to take care of our environment and the communities we serve,” said Oigara.
Oigara stated that BPR customers in Rwanda will also have access to a larger network of agents across the country and will benefit from enhanced digital capability, transactional banking solutions, trade finance expertise and international banking offering from KCB.
“The combined Bank (BPR Bank Rwanda) will effectively become the second largest bank in the Rwanda banking industry and gives KCB Group a stronger edge in deepening the ongoing Group strategy to scale regional presence,” Oigara said.
The acquisition of BPR comes at a time when the banking sector in Rwanda is booming despite the COVID-19 pandemic challenges and slow down in the economy.
For instance, the Financial Stability Committee (FSC) 2021 report stated that nothing much changed during the pandemic and the banking sector remained dominant at 67.2% in 2021 (compared to 67.3% in 2020) followed by pension (16.7%) insurance sector and Micro finance institutions.
Also the FSC showed that during the pandemic payment systems continued to operate smoothly with money supply increasing by 15.8% and usage of digital payments continued to deepen mainly driven by mobile financial services.
This saw bank assets grow to Rwf4.9 trillion from Rwf4.0Tn in 2020 as major earning assets of banks remain stable, while outstanding bank loans grew by 19.1% (from Rwf2.4 Trillion to Rwf2.9trillion driven by improved growth of outstanding loans in line with increased new lending.