KCB to retain TMB brand in Congo market entry plan

KCB Group will operate the newly-acquired Trust Merchant Bank (TMB) with its current brand in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The lender says the strategy will help build on the strengths of TMB and enable the new subsidiary, which currently serves about two million customers, to deliver incremental value by being part of KCB.

The plan to retain TMB brand name for the regional lender’s acquisition mirrors KCB’s strategy when it acquired the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) in 2019 and the May 2022 transaction to acquire BPR Bank Rwanda PLC, which was formed following the amalgamation of KCB Bank Rwanda and Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR).

At the moment, BPR Bank Rwanda is the second-largest bank in the country with just over 13 million people with a network of 154 branches.

KCB Group latest acquisition through 85 percent shareholding in TMB, provides the regional lender a financial institution that commands US$1.7 billion in total assets and a strong offering in retail, SME, corporate and digital banking channels.

Currently, TMB runs a branch network of 109 outlets backed by agency banking network, alongside a representative office in Belgium. In the DRC, the Bank commands an 11 percent market share as measured by total assets and is home to more than one in five banks accounts in the country.

Group CEO Paul Russo said TMB is poised to positively contribute towards KCB’s increased scale of operations by establishing its presence in new markets and providing income diversification in the East African region.

Read also: KCB Group assets edge closer to Sh1.5 trillion on acquisition of DRC-based bank

“The acquisition extends our reach by providing customers access to a larger banking network and an expanded array of services. Our shared banking philosophies will provide significant long-term value for our shareholders, employees, and customers. I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and look forward to welcoming new customers and team members to the KCB family,” said Mr Russo.

In March this year, the East African Community trade bloc admitted DRC as its seventh member, increasing the market by 50 percent to roughly 300 million people.

Across the EAC common market, which consists of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and DRC, KCB has spread wings in all countries and also runs a representative office in new frontier Ethiopia.

KCB Group is poised to tap into industry experience in Kenya to finance traders, investors and businesses in DRC, which produces minerals including copper and cobalt, in demand for battery electric vehicles, and diamonds.

DRC also provides KCB with a good chance to provide business financing and banking services to investments stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic coastline.

“As KCB, we have financial strength as well as a solid reputation that traverses centuries of supporting regional and global financial services. We, therefore, see the entry into DRC as a chance to further entrench these credentials, to the benefit of communities,” Group Chairman Andrew Kairu said.

“We see significant business opportunities from this acquisition arising from delivering innovative financial services to customers, growing linkages between customers in our region and realizing operational efficiencies which will deliver tangible value to key stakeholders” added Mr Russo.

“The coming together of TMB and KCB will provide customers access to a larger banking network and an expanded array of services,” noted Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge.

With the completion of 85 percent acquisition of TMB, KCB Group becomes the second largest lender in Kenya to enter the DRC market after Equity Group.

Equity bought a controlling shareholding in Banque Commerciale du Congo in 2020, extending its footprint in a market that only less than 10 percent of the population is covered by banks.

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