Local banking entity I&M Bank, has embarked on a re-branding exercise for all of the seven recently acquired Giro Commercial Bank Limited (GCBL) branches.

The branches acquired by I&M Bank are now undergoing a full brand conversion, effectively pushing up the I&M Bank Kenya’s network to 43 branches countrywide.

The recent successful acquisition of GCBL by I&M Group has continued to underline the viability of Bank consolidations in Kenya as part of a strategic effort to foster financial inclusion and sustained growth for the local banking sector.

Effective February 13, 2017, GCBL ceased to be a bank licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, with IMBL assuming its licensing rights and obligations. All GCBL stakeholders including depositors, 110 employees, and creditors have found a new home at I&M Bank.

Speaking when he confirmed the ongoing works, I&M Bank Limited CEO, Mr. Kihara Maina said the rebranding project will involve outfitting of the seven former GCBL Branches to the signature I&M Bank brand identity. The Bank is currently working on integrating GCBL’s data into I&M Bank systems.

“The integration is well aligned to the strategic aspirations of I&M Bank and is aimed at making the merged entity a more efficient and stronger bank. The strategic rationale of the acquisition includes pursuing scale to improve market penetration, filling portfolio gaps in business operations and creating value by improving overall business performance while creating wider access for product offerings,” Kihara said.

The consolidation, Kihara noted, has also served to underscore I&M Group’s expansion strategy, which seeks opportunities to expand both locally and regionally by way of acquisitions and green field projects where necessary.

“At I&M Bank, we have been sincerely working hard to welcome aboard our new customers from the former Giro Bank by guaranteeing them excellent services and products,” Kihara said, adding that, “Similarly, existing I&M Bank customers are now enjoying an expanded branch network as part of our corporate commitment to enhance our service delivery capacity.”

The consolidation of GCBL has provided a much needed market growth advantage for I&M Bank which will now enjoy an expanded market presence and a quality balance sheet expansion.

Through the merger, I&M Group has acquired additional net advances of approximately KES 9.1 billion, and deposits of KES 12.6 billion besides other assets of approximately KES 6.7 billion.

For GCBL customers, this merger will provide additional advantage of accessing their bank accounts from 36 new I&M Bank branches located countrywide as well as through Alternate Channels like all Visa, Kenswitch and I&M Bank ATMs, Mobile Banking, Internet Banking and PesaLink. It will also enable them to enjoy the range of I&M Bank’s credit, debit and pre-paid Visa and MasterCard payment cards. Corporate customers of GCBL will be able to avail of I&M Cash Management Services, Trade Services as well as Corporate Internet Banking suite.

I&M Bank was licensed in 1996, and ranked 9th in terms of market share as at December 31, 2016, with 36 branches. GCBL was licensed in 1992, and ranked 26th in terms of market share as at December 31, 2016, with 7 branches. Taken together, the merged bank is estimated to have a combined market share of about 5 percent as at December 31, 2016.