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Fidelity gets 3 new directors after SBM deal

Fidelity Bank along Nairobi's Kaunda Street. FILE PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU
Fidelity Bank along Nairobi's Kaunda Street. FILE PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU  

Mauritian firm SBM Holdings has appointed three new local directors at Fidelity Commercial Bank after getting green light from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to takeover the lender.

Fidelity Commercial Bank has now officially changed its name to SBM Bank (Kenya) after the acquisition.

The new board includes businesswoman and chair of Kenya Manufacturers Association Flora Mutahi, Strathmore University don Jim McFie and lawyer Sharad Rao.

East African Development Bank country manager Jotham Mutoka has been appointed acting CEO ahead of the appointment of a Kenyan managing director.

“Now, it is a shift from suitcase banking to direct brick-and-mortar branch banking. SBM’s entry into Africa begins from Kenya as hub for East Africa expansion followed by expansion into other regions,” said SBM Holdings Kee chairman Chong Li Kwong Wing who revealed the bank previously had Kenyan clients.

SBM Bank (Kenya) said it would retain Fidelity staff and branches — six in Nairobi and four in Mombasa.

CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said the entry of SBM Group into Kenya provides a welcome impetus to the sector that has seen turbulence after failure of three banks. 

“SBM will bring its experience and expertise from Mauritius and other markets, to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of Kenya’s banking sector,” said Dr Njoroge.

“Going forward, SBM is well poised to play a significant role in financing intra-Africa trade and investments, using Kenya as a launching pad into other African markets.”

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