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Currently, there are nine representative offices of foreign banks operating in Kenya. Some of them are HDFC Bank, Nedbank, FirstRand Bank, Bank of China, Bank of Kigali, and Bank AL Habib. Even though they have been granted permission to open representative offices by the Central Bank of Kenya, they do not have a licence to carry out commercial banking activities. Let us see How to Apply for Representative Offices of Foreign Banks in Kenya
Recently, Kenya decided to remove the controversial interest rate cap introduced in 2016 which led to declining access to credit for the small players in the private sector. As a result of the interest cap, banks in Kenya often refrained from lending to the private sector and concentrated on lending to only the government and large multinational corporations.
Procedure – Foreign Banks in Kenya
To apply, the applicant has to contact the Bank Supervision Department of the Central Bank of Kenya.
The following key steps are followed in applying for authority to open a representative office in Kenya:-
a) Submission of a formal letter to the Central Bank from the foreign institution expressing intention to seek authority to open and operate a Representative Office in Kenya.
b) Alongside the aforementioned formal letter, the applicant should submit all the required documents that are required for this process to be successful and it can be found under the “Required Documents” section on this page.
c) All documents submitted should be in the English language. Certified English translations should be provided for all submissions originally rendered in a language other than English. Translation certificates should be attached to the translated documents and should state, as a minimum:
- the name(s) and qualification(s) of the translator.
- that the translator understands the language, in which the original versions of the documents in question have been prepared,
- the translation is true, accurate, and correct to the best of the translators knowledge and ability,
- The certificate should preferably be made under oath or notarized to provide assurance of its validity, and The Central Bank reserves the right to request additional information, statements or documents as it shall deem necessary for purposes of determining an application.
d) In processing an application by a foreign institution to open a Representative Office in Kenya, the Central Bank shall have the right to object to the name under which the prospective Representative Office proposes to operate in Kenya if the Central Bank deems such name to be inappropriate, ambiguous, potentially misleading or confusing to the public.
e) Upon meeting all the requirements, the CBK will grant the applicant an approval in principle to open a representative office in Kenya.
f) With the approval in principle, the applicant may proceed to obtain premises, recruit staff and other facilities necessary for operations of the Representative Office and to pay the prescribed license fee of Kshs 20,000 through a bankers cheque payable to CBK, or such other mode of payment as CBK may prescribe. g) Once the premises are ready, the applicant will invite CBK to conduct an inspection.
h) If the inspection is satisfactory, the CBK grants final authority to the applicant to commence the business of a Representative Office in Kenya.
Required Documents – Foreign Banks in Kenya
- Formal letter
- A duly completed Application Form for Authority to Establish a Representative Office of a Foreign Bank or Financial Institution (Form CBK/RO 1-1-Page 423 of Prudential Guideline on Authorization of Representative Offices in Kenya) with the relevant supporting documentation:-
- Notarized copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the foreign institution proposing to open the Representative Office;
- Notarized copy of the Articles and Memorandum of Association of the foreign institution proposing to open the Representative Office;
- The names of the principal shareholders of the foreign institution and their respective percentage holdings;
- A complete list of the Applicants Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer;
- A notarized extract of the minutes of the Applicants Board meeting passing the resolution to establish the proposed Representative Office in Kenya;
- A statement identifying the kind of business intended to be conducted through the proposed Representative Office as well as the intended objectives of the Representative Office;
- The name and full contact details of the relevant monetary or supervisory authority to which the Applicant is subject;
- A notarized copy of the Applicants valid licence to conduct banking business as issued by the home supervisor;
- Certified copies of the audited financial statements for each of the three years immediately preceding the date of the application;
- If the applicant has links to or forms part of a group (either as parent company, subsidiary, joint venture or Associate Company) a detailed chart giving the entire group structure and respective shareholdings between members of the group;
- A feasibility study of the future operations and development of the business for a minimum period of three years from the date of the application;
- Proposed organization structure for the Representative Office in Kenya;
- A declaration signed by the Chief Executive Officer as specified in the application form.
- A non-refundable application fee to the Central Bank of Kenya, payable by bankers cheque or such other mode of payment as the CBK may prescribe, as specified under the Fourth Schedule to the Banking Act, (The Banking (Fees) Regulations. The application fee is currently Kshs 5,000.
- Duly completed Fit and Proper Application Forms for the proposed Chief Representative Officer, proposed managers and senior officers for the proposed Representative Office (Form CBK/RO 1-2-Page 426 Prudential Guideline on Authorisation of Representative Offices in Kenya) with the following relevant supporting documentation:-
- A notarized copy of the nominees valid passport (for foreign nationals).
- A certified copy of a national identity card (for Kenyan citizens).
- An up-to-date and detailed curriculum vitae.
- Copies of the nominees academic and professional certificates, which should be duly certified where the issuing authority is located within the Republic of Kenya or notarized if the certificates and other related documents are issued by foreign authorities.
- Copies of any testimonials available, which should be duly certified or notarized as the case may be.
- Names and full contact details of at least three independent personal referees who should have known the applicants for at least five years.
Office Locations & Contacts
Bank Supervision Department
Central Bank of Kenya
Haile Selassie Avenue
P.O. Box 60000-00200,
Tel / Fax: +254202860000
Phone: +254202861000, +254202863000, +254709081000, +254709083000
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign banks who wish to have a presence in the country without having to launch fully-fledged banking operations.
- Application fee: Kshs 5,000
- License fee: Kshs 20,000
Documents to Use
- Apply in writing to the central Bank of kenya
- Application Form Filled
- In considering an application for a Licence,the central Bank may require to be satisfied as to:-
- The finance condition and history of the institution
- The character of its management
- The professional and moral suitability of the persons proposed to manage or control the institution
- The adequacy of its capital structure and earning prospects
- The convenience and needs of the area to be served and the public interest which will be served by the granting of the licence
- Payment of the prescribed fee
- Details of parent institution
- Name of the institution
- Type of business
- Full address
- Date and country of incorporation
- Branch offices
- Former name(s) by which the institution has been known
- Whether the institution been denied authority by any supervisory body or Government to carry on any business activity in Kenya or elsewhere. If so, give particulars
- Whether an inspector or other authorized officer of any Government Ministry, Department or Agency, Professional Association or other regulatory body investigating or has such an investigation ever previously taken place into the affairs of the institution. If so, give particulars
- Whether the institution been refused entry in Kenya or elsewhere to any professional body or trade association concerned with banking or financial activities or decided not to apply for entry after making an approach. If so, give particulars
- Whether the institution been put under receivership or made any compromise or arrangement with its creditors in the past or otherwise failed to satisfy creditors in full. If so, give particular.
- Details of representative office in Kenya
- Physical address of the office LR No., Building, Street, Town, Postal address and Telephone Numbers.
- Names, designations and qualifications of the designated Chief Representative Officer for the Kenya office
- Names, designations and qualifications of the senior officers to operate the Kenya office
- Number and designation of other staff
- Type of services to be offered by the Kenya Office
- Whether you plan to change the status of the proposed place of business. If yes, state purpose of proposed type of status and when
- Proposed date of commencing operations
Need for the Document
Representative Offices of Foreign Banks in Kenya are established by foreign banks who wish to have a presence in the country without having to launch fully-fledged banking operations. They are authorized and overseen by the Central Bank under the Banking Act and only permitted to undertake research, marketing and liaison roles on behalf of their parent and affiliated institutions. They are therefore not allowed to conduct banking business.