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K-Rep Bank plans name change as it seeks to shed microfinance image

A K-Rep Bank branch along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
A K-Rep Bank branch along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

K-Rep Bank will next Monday rebrand to Sidian Bank as its new majority shareholder Centum Investments seeks to boost its image as a fully-fledged bank and shed that of a microfinance institution.

The tier-three lender has received regulatory approval to change its name, actualising its long-held ambition to rebrand its operations to enhance customer confidence and grow its business.

K-Rep, which started as an non-governmental organisation before converting to a micro-financier in 1989 and later to a bank in 1999, mainly lends to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“We advise that K-Rep will change its name to Sidian Bank effective April 4. They will rebrand to incorporate new designs for their customers cheques,” Habil Olaka, Kenya Bankers Association chief executive said in a letter to members.

K-Rep, which was taken over by Centum in November 2014, has 37 branches across the country and had Sh17.9 billion assets as at September 2015 while its profit stood at Sh281.3 million.

The rebranding is the last step in an operations overhaul which has included retraining of staff, enhancing customer relations and the core banking system, a process which has been ongoing since the bank was bought out.

“We conducted a brand audit and we found out that there is still a big perception out there is that we are simply a micro lender,” Titus Karanja, the bank’s CEO, told the Business Daily in an interview.

“Whereas we will still be serving the SMEs, the rebranding will align the bank with its new promise to serve an extended portfolio of clients as the fully fledged bank that we are,” he added.

Mr Karanja explained that the rebranding of its branches will take two months, but declined to state how much the exercise will cost the lender.

The bank will, at its cost, replace K-Rep-branded ATM cards for existing customers over three months while clients with the bank’s old cheque books will continue using them for another six months.

Centum in October injected Sh1.2 billion into K-Rep raising the bank’s core capital to Sh3.8 billion, giving it room to increase its loans to customers which as at September stood at Sh12.1 billion. K-Rep is expected to announce its results for the year ended December on Tuesday.

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