It was the 26th largest bank in Kenya at the end of 2005 with assets of 4.2 billion and made a profit of 122 million shillings. It was the financial arm of the Kingsway Group which includes Creative Innovations, Kingsway Tyres, Digital World and the landmark Village Market in Gigiri.
While it is rare for a financially sound bank to be shut down, the Finance Minister made a good point that he wanted to prevent a run on the Bank. Rumours & stories about a takeover/restructuring/ownership change at a bank can truly cause panic in the banking sector since Kenyans have over the years lost billions of shilling in collapsed banks. At a recent bank meeting, the Chairman was very candid that some depositors had withdrawn huge amounts from his bank following some inaccurate reports appearing in the media.
Despite this, the legal grounds for the closure are not very strong although the Bank has weathered several money laundering storms over the years.
Charterhouse which was formerly Middle East Bank Kenya and at one time 10% owned by Nakumatt who also hosted several branches should re-open in a few months with the help of some smart lawyers and an aggressive market campaign.