Thursday, November 13, 2008

Banking service providers in Southern Sudan

In the past year we've seen the retail banking sector expand in Southern Sudan. Nile Commercial Bank, the first in the market, has seen competition from KCB from Kenya and Buffalo Commercial Bank, an indigenous operation.

Juba's retail banking scene is pretty well covered. All three banks have several points of service throughout the town, with their primary sales points in "Old Town" Juba.

Outside of Juba, the difference are evident. Nile Commercial Bank has, I understand, about 15 total branches, or about one in each major town in South Sudan and even a branch in Khartoum.

Commercial banking services are pretty limited. KCB does service the commercial lending market, but with a risk premium many would balk at. Nile Commercial Bank has slowed their lending operations, and the state of Buffalo's commercial lending is nil, as I am told by some of its shareholders. This leaves a serious opportunity for a banking service provider to fill.

Others are planning to enter the market, including Crane Bank, of Uganda, and Equity Bank of Kenya. Both, I understand are principally focused on retail banking, and will probably land their operations in Juba.

No comments: