The licensing of Mayfair Bank Limited and the Dubai Islamic Bank in April marks the first time in about eight years that the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has given its nod to a new lender, other than those that have entered through acquisitions.
The regulator on Friday announced that Mayfair Bank had been granted a licence to conduct banking business in Kenya.
UBA Bank was the last lender to get a CBK licence in 2009, allowing it to start operations from the scratch.
Other lenders that have entered the Kenyan market in the period, including Jamii Bora (2010) and M Holdings (2010), have been through take overs.
The CBK in the Friday statement said the entry of Mayfair Bank would broaden the choices available to the Kenyan public and enhance the competitive environment in the banking sector.
“The licence has been granted pursuant to Section 4 and 5 of the Banking Act (Cap 488) following the fulfilment of the stipulated licensing requirements,” said the regulator.
In March, the CBK started processing requests for licensing of Mayfair Bank and Dubai Islamic Ban, ending a moratorium it put in place in 2015 on licensing new commercial banks.
The two banks had received approval in principle before the 2015 suspension of licensing.
The CBK did not give any reason for its action when it suspended the licensing of new banks, but the moratorium came after it had placed privately-owned Imperial Bank under receivership in October 2015.
Mayfair Bank is headquartered in Nairobi and will principally target the corporate market segment.
It will launch its presence with an initial network of three branches, two in Nairobi and one in Mombasa.