March 13, 2017 / 1:39 PM / 4 months ago

Kenya's central bank finalising licences for two new banks

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NAIROBI, March 13 (Reuters) - Kenya's central bank said on Monday it would process requests for licences by two new banks, ending a moratorium it put in place in 2015 on licensing new commercial banks.

The central bank said in a statement that DIB Bank Kenya and Mayfair Bank Kenya had received "approval in principle" before the 2015 suspension of licensing.

"The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) announces its intention to finalise the processing of licence applications for two institutions ... as a first step to lifting the moratorium on licensing of new commercial banks," it said.

DIB Bank Kenya is wholly owned by the Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, which operates according to Islamic principles. Mayfair Bank is owned by Kenyan investors.

The central bank gave no reason for its action when it suspended the licensing of new banks.

But the moratorium came after it had placed privately-owned Imperial Bank under receivership in October 2015. Imperial's board had alerted the central bank to malpractices at the mid-sized lender. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Katharine Houreld and Mark Potter)

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