New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Crane Bank Aiming for 50 Branches By 2015

Competition in the banking industry is quickly turning to branch growth with bankers looking to increase deposits amidst the tight monetary conditions imposed by the Central Bank.

"Liquidity conditions are still tight, interest rates are still very high and businesses have not fully picked up yet," said A. K. Kalan, the Crane Bank boss.

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) has maintained its benchmark Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 21% for a second month running, staying prime lending rates at an average high of 27% despite initial monetary easing at the start of the year.

"We are looking to expand to 50 branches from the current 19 branches by 2015. Through additional branches we will be able to grow our reach in areas where trade activity is high," Kalan noted.

He was speaking at the sidelines of the opening of the bank's 19th branch at Kyambogo University. Hitherto, Stanbic Bank Uganda held a monopoly at the University.

The Bank currently has the largest branch network in the industry at over 73 following its acquisition of the now-defunct Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB) in the year 2002.

Kalan revealed that Crane Bank has spent an additional $1m (sh2.5b) on its latest branch just a few weeks after spending sh3.5b on the recent Mukono branch.

The Bank is targeting the 28,000 student population at the University in addition to the large surrounding community.

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