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Crane Bank at 20

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th August 2015 10:03 PM

A hostile environment which threatened Crane Forex Bureau’s existence made the creation of Crane Bank necessary. “We were doing a lot of forex business; there was a time when we were doing more forex business than a lot of the banks. So the banks created a cartel, charging forex bureaus more – ban

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The bank’s head office on Kampala Road

A hostile environment which threatened Crane Forex Bureau’s existence made the creation of Crane Bank necessary. “We were doing a lot of forex business; there was a time when we were doing more forex business than a lot of the banks. So the banks created a cartel, charging forex bureaus more – ban

trueI started Crane Bank to survive - Sudhir

A hostile environment which threatened Crane Forex Bureau’s existence made the creation of Crane Bank necessary. “We were doing a lot of forex business; there was a time when we were doing more forex business than a lot of the banks. So the banks created a cartel, charging forex  bureaus more – bank charges and other things. In order for us to survive we had no choice but to go into banking,” says founder Sudhir Ruparelia.

 Crane Bank opened its doors for business on August 21, 1995 and weathered the banking crisis of 1999 to become the largest indigenous bank in country today. From scratch 20 years ago, the bank now has an asset base of sh1,720b, making it the third largest commercial bank in Uganda.  From its humble beginnings on Plot 20, Kampala Road, the bank has grown to have a presence nationwide in what may seem a meteoric rise, but has not always been so. “We opened a Jinja branch after three years and we had two branches for 10 years. Our aim was to concentrate on building a very strong head office. Once we did that, we started to think of branch network,” says Sudhir, who is the bank’s vice chairman

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20 years of serving to grow 

CRANE BANK TURNS 20 TODAY. JOHN MASABA TALKED TO AVINASH SRIVASATAVA, THE BANK’S HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING 

Q How did the bank’s founders come up with the idea of starting it?

A Although Crane Bank opened its doors on August 21, 1995, the idea of Crane Bank was born in 1993. Dr. Sudhirtrue Ruparelia and his wife Jyotsna were at the time running a forex bureau and saw a niche in the market. There was a need for a customer-friendly bank that understands business in order to cater for the needs of the people in a simple and timely manner. Crane Bank has always believed in supporting economic transformation, by growing together with its clients and transforming private enterprises. Throughout the years, Crane Bank has supported enterprises through funding businesses and projects through products such as Overdrafts, demand loans, bank guarantee and letters of credit.

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Why Crane keeps flying

PAUL BUSHARIZI TALKED TO THE CHAIRMAN OF CRANE BANK JOSEPH BIRIBONWA
QPlease give us an overview of Crane Bank.
A The bank opened its doors to business in 1995, opening its first branch in Jinja in 1996. We now have 45 branches and 100 ATMs countrywide. The bank has been profitable from its third year when it made sh1.5b after taxes. In 2014, profits came in at sh58.61b. The bank employs 600 workers who service our 500,000 clients’ 70,000 accounts.

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We make banking easier than you think, says Avinash

In 2014, Crane Bank’s profit before tax hit sh50.6b from sh47b the year before on the back of robust growth in loans and advances, and customer deposits. Samuel Sanya spoke to Avinash Srivasatava, the Crane Bank Ag. head of sales and marketing about the bank’s products and what makes the bank stand out 

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Srivasatava says Crane Bank educates people about saving. Photos by Nicholas Oneal

The Crane Bank savings account requires a minimum of sh50,000. Isn’t that too high for the average Ugandan?

Crane Bank offers a product called Crane Saving, which is simple to open and operate. This account has no monthly charges, with minimum transactional fees only charged when the account is used. Open an account with a minimum balance of sh25,000, get a free VISA ATM card, maintain above sh50,000 and earn 5% interest per annum. The Crane Saving account can be accessed in any Crane Bank branch and more than 100 ATMs across the country. And customers can also monitor their account through the Internet banking platform. The account best suits for industrial workers, students, housewives and salaried groups. We offer Crane Access Account, Savings Account, Regular Monthly Savings account and Children’s Savings Account, all of which are extremely popular for salary earners.

What are the benefits of a Crane Bank savings account?

While only 30% of the population in Uganda bank, the primary focus of Crane Bank is to promote, through education, the importance of banking, with the Crane Bank Saving product. The bank has embarked on a campaign by targeting specific groups in communities in rural areas. An example of this is the launch of Solutions for Schools, which not only helps schools with collection of fees, but also the bank to reach out to the teachers, students and parents, to promote saving and safe borrowing at an early age with no monthly charges. The product also encourages saving by giving an interest on their savings.

Tell us about the Crane Access Account? Why does it have a lower requirement of sh10,000 than the savings account? 

The Crane Access Account, which can be opened with a deposit of as low as sh10,000 is a tremendous success in penetrating the unbanked segment and bringing them into the banking mainstream. All transactions on this account are done through the ATM only. There is no monthly  charge. However, interest is not paid on Crane Access Account like a saving account, so it gives a choice to the customer to select from Saving Account or Crane Access Account depending on their needs.

Why should anyone consider opening a Crane Bank current account?

Crane Bank offers a variety of products and services that can be tailor-made to the requirements of SMEs and corporates. Crane Bank accounts can be opened in various foreign currencies. We offer a dedicated relationship manager for serving your account. We offer seven days banking facilities in selected branches with extended working hours. Customers can enjoy banking across Crane Bank branches without additional charges. We offer Internet banking facilities and the best forex rates.

At Crane Bank, we understand that you want to manage your finances with the same care and professionalism that you put into every other aspect of your life. We also realise that different businesses have different banking needs and that is why we have designed a current account that gives you the flexibility to operate. We use our network, our state-of-the-art technology, and our sprightly attitude, to provide our customers the best banking experience.

Crane Bank’s personal current account comes packed with a host of services and facilities that makes banking convenient and hassle-free. Personal Current Account can be maintained in foreign currencies like US Dollars, Euro, Great Britain Pounds, Japanese Yen and Kenya shillings as well as Uganda shillings. We pay interest on current accounts, which ensures that the organisations earn good income on their idle funds too.

How does the Crane Kids Account work?

As a parent, your priority is your child’s future and being able to meet your child’s dreams. Plan today to ensure a bright future for your child. Start building today with our Crane Kid’s Account so that your child can lead a life of respect and dignity with a secured financial future. The account can be open with a minimum deposit of sh10,000 for the children below 18 years of age. .

What is the minimum amount for a term/fixed deposit account?

Why do women get a better rate? At Crane Bank, we let your money earn you income as you deliberate how and where to invest it. We allow fixed deposits in both local and foreign currency and many alternatives are available to help one benefit the most out of this scheme. Crane Bank offers Term Deposits to suit your requirements. Crane Bank believes one’s hard-earned money should grow even when it is not being used. The minimum amount is sh1m and $500. Our term deposit is flexible and can be opened for periods ranging from one month to two years. Just to top things off, to celebrate women, they are enjoying preferential interest rates of 0.5% above our fixed rate of up to 15%. This is limited-period offer to encourage a saving culture among women.

Closing remarks

Looking forward, Crane Bank will continue to focus on introducing innovative products at the most economic prices, while offering worldclass services to the customers through our dedicated and committed staff supported by sound corporate governance.

Having established Crane Bank as one of the major players in the Ugandan Banking industry, we have now embarked on a path of significant long term growth. 

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Crane Bank staff cutting cake during the staff recognition party

Crane Bank to introduce e-mail, SMS alerts 

Crane Bank offers fully secure safe deposit lockers backed by state-of-the-art security facilities. We have them available in a variety of sizes to suit your requirements. The deposit lockers can be operated at your convenience during our banking hours. This facility is only available at the Kampala main branch.

Crane Bank offers fully secure safe deposit lockers backed by state-of-the-art security facilities. We have them available in a variety of sizes to suit your requirements. The deposit lockers can be operated at your convenience during our banking hours.

This facility is only available at the Kampala main branch. Crane Bank has also proposed to introduce email and SMS alerts to allow customers to keep track of their finances without having to commute. The bank believes in supporting customers to grow and expand together. It is with this prophecy we have the motto of “Serving to Grow, Growing to Serve”, with the aim to make banking easier than you think

 

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Crane Bank at 20

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