On Monday, October 9, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) issued a statement about their receipt of a non-binding offer from the SBM Holdings (State Bank of Mauritius – SBM) for parts of Chase Bank.
It came after another meeting last Friday to update Chase Bank depositors about the progress of the expression of interest (EOI) with depositors, and which was then followed by some news articles that prompted some alarm over the ‘loss’ of deposits at Chase from the SBM takeover.
The statement mentions SBM’s offer to acquire some assets (i.e. loans) that are matched (i.e. equal) to some liabilities (i.e. customer deposits at Chase) and went ahead to mention that there would be a substantial recovery of deposits and retention of staff and branches of Chase Bank.
The bank, which was expected to be a quick receivership, and concluded in April this year, now has a hole of Kshs 35 billion and the estimate is that SBM will support the recovery of 75% of the deposits as at when Chase Bank was closed in April 2016. One third of the funds will be available on January 1, another third will be available in a savings account that will earn interest (it was a sore point for depositors to hear that their funds in the bank that was known for great rates had not been earning interest since it was closed in April 2016), and a third will be available in installments over the next three years.
The final amount will be recovered by suits and fraud cases against the defaulters who may include directors and managers (insiders) at the bank.
— Central Bank Kenya (@CBKKenya) October 9, 2017
While CBK had earlier reported that 12 banks had replied to the EOI (three Kenyan banks, four foreign banks, and five financial consortiums), the standard quotes the CBK Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, as saying “All the investors in the end indicated that they were not interested in taking up the bank, save for one who was only interested in carving out some assets and liabilities and not an entire acquisition.”
SBM has a substantial Government of Mauritius shareholding, and this will be the second bank that SBM is buying in Kenya, after they took over Fidelity Bank and one story is that their rescue of Fidelity was tied to some assurance that they would also get Chase, ahead of other bidders.
SBM will do due diligence on what branches and staff it wants to retain going forward. The Chase recovery seems similar to one that Imperial Bank shareholders had initially proposed when they found a hole at their bank – one of staggered access to funding, immediate, then some spaced over three years.