Home » Controlled by Kenya’s richest families, NCBA Group lends Mauritian firm $10.7 million

Controlled by Kenya’s richest families, NCBA Group lends Mauritian firm $10.7 million

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Uhuru Kenyatta

As part of a concerted effort to diversify its corporate loan portfolio, NCBA Group, a financial services conglomerate owned by Kenya’s wealthiest families, has advanced a Ksh1.3-billion ($10.7 million) loan facility to Mauritius-based real estate firm Grit Services Limited.

The recent move by NCBA, which makes it the second bank to fund Grit Services Limited, the main subsidiary of Grit Real Estate Income Group, comes after the Kenyan lender announced plans to expand into Ghana, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to Grit’s financial statement, the Mauritius-based real estate firm received two credit facilities from NCBA totaling Ksh803 million ($6.54 million) and Ksh510.8 million ($4.15 million).

With the addition of the $10.7-million facility, NCBA’s loan to Grit now represents more than 2.27 percent of the real estate company’s overall debt, while Standard Bank, to whom it owes Ksh23.3 billion ($190 million), continues to be its largest lender.

NCBA Group is a Nairobi-based financial services conglomerate that operates as a non-operating holding through its extensive network of subsidiaries in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Cote d’Ivoire.

The Kenyan banking firm, established in 2019 by the merger of NIC Bank Group and Commercial Bank of Africa Group, now has 109 branches in five countries — Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Cote d’Ivoire — and is partially owned by the super-rich Kenyatta, Merali, and Ndegwa families.

The bank’s profit rose from Ksh6.52 billion ($53.3 million) to Ksh12.8 billion ($104.7 million) at the end of the first nine months of its 2022 fiscal year, thanks to a double-digit increase in interest and non-interest income during the period under review.

The group has reaped enormous benefits from pioneering mobile phone-based lending in Kenya since partnering with telecom provider Safaricom in 2012 to launch the market-dominating service, M-Shwari. It is now negotiating mobile phone banking partnerships with banks and telecom operators in the three countries.

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