Islamic lender Gulf African Bank is set to open two new branches in Hurlingham, Nairobi and Mtwapa in Mombasa this year, bucking a trend in which several peers have announced outlet closures in recent months.
On January 2, the Islamic financier opened its 17th Branch on Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi targeting traders at the bustling area.
The lender said the its latest branch is expected to improve access to financial services for the bustling commerce community plying their trade on Tom Mboya Street, Moi Avenue, River, Accra as well as Kirinyaga roads, and Ronald Ngala Street, Haile Selassie Avenue and the larger lower city region.
“This is our first branch in downtown Nairobi. This will help our customers in this area to conveniently access our services given that our next branch is along Kenyatta Avenue,” said Gulf African Bank managing director, Abdallah Abdulkhalik.
Local lenders have, following the enactment of the interest capping law in late 2016, announced culling of branches or a freeze on expansion in a bid to protect their bottom lines.
There are three fully-fledged Islamic banks in the country – Gulf, First Community and Dubai Islamic Bank – with at least 11 conventional lenders with dedicated counters for such products.
The Islamic banks are understood to be keen to cash in on the efforts by authorities to make Kenya a hub for Islamic finance in Africa with ongoing reforms expected to drive the growth of Islamic-finance operations.