By Samuel Sanya
AS inflation starts to fall in the Ugandan economy, investment is starting to pickup with Crane Bank setting the pace, opening an additional $1.5m (sh3.5b) branch in the district of Mukono.
Bank executives say the branch is part of two others that are due for opening in the month of February as part of a strategy to reach 25 country branches at the close of this year.
“All staff for the Mukono branch were recruited locally to benefit the district and create goodwill. The facility cost us $1.5m and took 9 months to construct,” said A R Kalan, the Crane Bank managing director.
The banks’ after tax profits grew 61% to sh51.6b in 2010 up from sh32.05b a year before largely due to growth in loans and advances with a huge reduction in default rates.
Crane Bank Director Sam Muwanguzi and Managing Director A. R Kalan chat during the launch. Photo by MARK OWOR
Speaking to the New Vision in an earlier interview, Kalan hinted at the banks ambitions of opening shop in DR Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan to capture clientele in the wider East African market in addition to listing shares on Uganda’s stock exchange.
Samson Muwanguzi, the bank’s chairman board of directors, said that by opening additional branches in Mukono, and soon in Abaita Ababiri and Najja in Kampala, the bank is looking to get closer to clients as competition heats up.
Uganda currently has over 23 licensed commercial banks with only 3 million bank accounts representing 10% of the total population according to Finscope surveys.