I&M Bank has lent a cumulative $16 million (Sh1.8 billion) to German businesses over the past five years, representing its funding of the multinationals and their partners in the local and regional market.
The bank’s German Desk was formed through a partnership with German state-owned fund DEG.
So far, 34 companies have benefited from the credit facilities while more than 30 expatriates have accessed financial services such as insurance, investment services and wealth management.
“The German Desk gives us great pride and over time it has enabled us to develop links with German firms, that at the end of the day is of benefit to the greater Eastern Africa,” I&M’s chief executive Kihara Maina said.
“Also, the Desk reinforces the fact that I&M Bank is a one-stop financial institution that places the needs of our customers at the forefront of our innovation in the region.”
The bank is among several institutions in Africa that have partnered with DEG to smoothen the entry and expansion of German firms in Africa.
Other German desks are in Accra (Ghana), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietman), Jakarta (Indonesia), Lagos (Nigeria) and Lima (Peru).
“The service is available for German SME companies and their local trading partners,” DEG says of the desks.
“The particular needs of German firms and their local partners are handled at the office by a bank employee who operates in both languages and cultures.”
The range of services includes opening accounts, trade financing, transaction banking, credit facilities or investment financing for local companies wishing to acquire German equipment, for example.
DEG says the desks aim to bridge cultural and language gaps and establish a close link between the local bank, the local business community, the German chambers of commerce abroad and the fund’s representative office on the ground.
It also seeks to serve as a bridge for financing solutions which DEG itself could not offer on site. Banks have been creating specialist desks to cater to new customers including Chinese businesses.