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Unaitas Sacco eyes commercial bank permit

Unaitas Sacco says it will apply for a commercial bank licence once the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) lifts the moratorium it imposed on licensing of new banks. The financial services firm Thursday said it is ramping up its capacity as it plans to seek the regulator’s nod.

“We will apply for a banking licence once the moratorium is lifted,” Unaitas general manager in charge of operations Nyaga Thagichu told the Business Daily.

“We had established contact with CBK and sought out information on the key requirements. But the moratorium set in. During the time of the freeze we have had adequate time to prepare the ground for compliance.”

CBK recently hinted that it is likely to reopen the door for investors to apply for bank licences when it said it would finalise approval of DIB Bank Kenya, owned by UAE’s largest Islamic bank Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), and Mayfair Bank associated with wealthy Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant Peter Kenneth.

“CBK announces its intention to finalise the processing of licence applications for two institutions that had been granted an ‘approval in principle’ as a first step to lifting the moratorium on licensing of new commercial banks,” it said in a statement.

The CBK suspended the licensing of new banks in November 2015, saying it needed to strengthen oversight; two months after the closure of Imperial Bank, which followed that of Dubai Bank.

Unaitas’ asset base stood at Sh9.3bn in 2015 and core capital of Sh3.6 billion.

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