CRDB Bank branch network will reach 300 by the year end leading other banks by far in terms of outlets.
In the meantime, CRDB Bank yesterday refuted false information circulating in the social media that the bank is closing down its branches due to current economic hardship.
The bank's Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei said the expansion drive continues until reaching a critical mass of 300 branches to lead 55 banks in term of outlets. "We are not closing any branch.
Instead we are heading to a critical mass point. This will stabilize our position," Dr Kimei told reporters in Dar es Salaam. He added: "[thereafter] we will continue building new branches based on customers or geographical location demands," Dr Kimei said.
The bank said by end of this week some 11 new branches will be hooked on its network and envisage to have 300 branches in the next few months. The bank current has some 250 branches.
The CRDB head was responding to some information that circulated on Monday saying the bank, due to financial crisis, is considering closing down some of its branches early next year. He said for example after Ubungo and Kigamboni becoming districts they are putting new branches that catered to serve municipals.
"We have a branch at Ubungo but after the area became a municipality, we had to put a bigger and better one to cater for district status, the same goes to Kigamboni," he said.
The bank said they will collaborate with state organs to investigate and take legal measures for those behind mudslinging of the bank image through social media. "We don't know the motive behind, but this false information is disheartening to our hardworking staff... " Dr Kimei said.
The bank named the new branches as Muheza and Handeni in Tanga, LAPF in Dodoma, Chake in Pemba, Ruangwa in Lindi, Chato in Geita and Dangote in Mtwara. Others are Mwanjelwa in Mbeya, Tarakea in Rombo, Mikumi in Morogoro and Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam.
Talking about stopping issuing loans, the MD said, the bank has not done so instead stern measures are taken before lending some industries and individuals. "We all know about the ongoing government verification to remove ghost workers. We too are critically verifying civil servants before issuing loans," Dr Kimei said.
He added: "why are we mobilizing deposits if we don't want to offer loans? Our business is lending. We cannot stop doing that." For instance the bank has lent out some 500bn/- to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to date. "All branches have power to issue loans," Mr Kimei said.
"But if a branch profile-at-risk (PAR) stands above 10 marks automatically disempowered to issue loans and head office takes over... until the rate goes below 10 marks".
CRDB has the strongest balance sheet as data show that at the end of September the bank assets level was at 5.3tri/- and deposits at 3.9tri/-.
According to Bank of Tanzania (BoT) October monthly economic review, credit to private sector increased by almost 12 per cent to 16.62tri/- on the year ending September.