One of Tanzania’s leading financial institutions, CRDB Bank will open a branch in Bujumbura, Burundi, before the end of the year, the first time the Dar es Salaam listed company will cross national borders.
Bruce Mwile, the general manager of CRDB Bank in Burundi told the East African News Agency (EANA) over the phone Tuesday, confirming feelers murmured in financial circles for some time now.
“The branch will be opened in Bujumbura this year but I cannot tell you exactly when as there are some matters which need to be finalised first,” he said.
He explained that CRDB Bank’s subsidiary company in Burundi was in fact building the head office in the capital, Bujumbura, which will act as the springboard for more branches in the tea and coffee exporting neighbouring country.
We are currently constructing the head office building here (Bujumbura) and we will have more branches in the city,’’ Mwile said, saving the details of the project for the inauguration day.
Burundi is one of the five member states and a growing stable market within the revived East African Community (EAC). Other members are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The grouping has a Customs Union, a Common Market protocol and plans to move on to monetary union.
Speaking to reporters in Arusha late June, the CRDB Bank Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei said the new company in Burundi would have been fully operational by last month but was delayed by what he called “logistical problems.”
“Our target is to grow the bank into a financial giant in East and Central Africa,’’ Dr Kemei was quoted as saying at a media conference that preceded the shareholders annual general meeting here.
The International Business and Management Consultant Ltd chief executive officer, Simon Mapolu commended the move saying: “CRDB Bank transforms into reality the East African Community ambition for the member states to trade beyond their borders.’’
He further explained that the move will give “the Tanzanian company international exposure to compete professionally and effectively in a global landscape.
According to Mr Mapolu, the move is set to increase CRDB Bank’s profit margin and dividends for the shareholders. The treasury coffers too, will be beefed up with more taxes, he added.
The move makes CRDB Bank, the second indigenous financial outfit to have branches outside the country after Exim Bank fanned out to The Comoros Islands.
The only East African bank which has aggressively invested in all five partner states so far is the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).