Licence To Operate A Bank In Kenya

Apply for a Banking Business license

Obtaining a Bank Business license include the following steps

Step I –

Book an appropriate name with the Registrar of Companies and write to the Central Bank to seek approval for the name. The name should incorporate the words Commercial Bank, ie “XYZ BANK”. or “XYZ COMMERCIAL BANK”.

Step II –

Register with the Ministry of Trade in Kenya.

Step III –

Attend a First meeting with the organizers and keep with you a Signed minutes of the first meeting along with attendance sheet.

Step IV –

Submit a prospectus which is a printed statement that describes and forecast the course or nature of the company along with expected risks distributed to the prospective investors.

Step V –

Write an application requesting to open a blocked subscription account indicating the name of the Bank(s)Branch(es)

Step VI –

A Duly completed application form as specified under the Bank proclamation of the Directives for organizing a Bank and project manager. Attach a Questionnaire test for organizing a bank and project Manager.

Step VII –

Attach Evidences of payment of investigation.

Step VIII –

A duly completed application form together with all enclosures as stated in the baking supervision Directives.

Step IX –

Attach the evidence of paid up capital which includes certificate of deposits in a blocked account and evidence of valuation of contribution in Kind if any.

Step X –

Attach a list of names nationality,address,number and value of subscribers shares of founder to be published in a local Newspaper in Kenya.

Step XI –

After the name has been approved by the Central Bank, register the company and after making a formal application to the Director, Bank Supervision Department, Central Bank of Ethiopia in a duly completed FORM/CBK/FXD1 attaching the following documents:

  • non-refundable application fee of Ksh.20,000 (bankers cheque payable to the Central Bank of Kenya);
  • a certified copy of a statement of affairs of the applicant;
  • a certified copy of the applicants memorandum and articles of association;
  • a certified copy of the applicants certificate of incorporation;
  • a feasibility study including financial projections for three years (balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statements), organizational structure, physical location and postal address;
  • bank statements of the bureaus shareholders and directors for a period of six months prior to the date of application;
  • duly completed fit and proper forms for the shareholders, directors and principal officers of the bank;
  • credit reports from a credit reference bureau for the shareholders, directors and the principal officers of the Bank;
  • a declaration by the applicant that none of its directors and/or shareholders has ever been declared bankrupt, participated in the management of a collapsed institution, convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction in Kenya or elsewhere of a criminal offence involving fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, or any other act of dishonesty;
  • a declaration by the applicant that none of its directors and/or shareholders holds a similar position or role in any other Commercial Banks;
  • an undertaking by the applicant to comply with the provisions of the Central Bank of Ethiopia Act, the Regulations, the Commercial Banks Guidelines and any instructions/ directions issued by the Central Bank of Ethiopia regarding the establishment and operations of Commercial bank at all times; and
  • A Business plan stating, financial analysis,banking sectoral analysis, business Environment,organization charts,strategic and operation plan,source of capital, accounting policies,technology competency, products and services.
  • any other information as may be required by the Central Bank of Kenya.

Step XII –

  • pay the licence fee of Ksh.60,000 to the Central Bank of Kenya by bankers cheque;
  • transfer the non-interest bearing deposit of US$30,000 to the Central Bank of Kenya offshore account;
  • invite the Central Bank of Kenya to inspect the Banks premises prior to commencement of business.

Step XIII –

Upon fulfillment of the above requirements or otherwise the Central Bank shall:

  • issue a Banking licence to the applicant; or
  • inform the applicant in writing that the application has been declined and advise the unsuccessful applicant that an appeal to the Central Bank for review of the decision to decline may be lodged within 30 days from the date thereof.

Step XIV –

On receiving the license from the Central bank of Kenya, the applicant must obtain the certificate of commencement of Business from the registrar of companies,and submit a copy to the Central Bank of Kenya.

  • Notify the Bank of Kenya of its Shareholders,directors and Staff of the Commercial bank including the following details:
  • Names
  • Residential Address
  • Specimen signature
  • Recent passport size photos endorsed by the Bank Directors

Required Documents

  • Completed application and other accompanying documents;
  • Investigation fee paid during submission application;
  • Publish a notice of intention to engage in banking business in widely circulating newspapers;
  • A minimum of one-fourth of the subscribed shares shall be fully paid in cash;
  • Minimum paid-up capital paid in cash and deposited in a blocked account in a bank in the name of the prospective bank; (recently the Central Bank has raised the minimum paid up capital to half a billion from 75 million.)
  • Directors, the chief executive officer and senior executive officers of the bank shall meet the qualification criteria prescribed by the Central Bank;
  • The premises, security arrangements and cash vault meeting National Bank standard.
  • A duly completed application form.
  • Proper book keeping Register
  • Academic Qualification documents
  • designation and specimen signature of the staff members
  • Address of applicant
  • evidence of provisional tax payment
  • A tax clearance certificate.


  • Commercial Banks may be established by any eligible corporate body or corporation duly licensed by the Central bank of Kenya to accept Deposit,lend money,issue money to clients, buy foreign currency and draft and sell foreign currency.
  • Commercial banks applicant must be a Kenyan Nationality or foreign resident but residing in Kenya.
  • All Individual or company registered for banking Business in Kenya with the registrar of Companies.


Application Fee: Ksh 5,000/=License Fee(a) Ksh 400,000/= granting of a license to an institution and each anniversary thereof:(b) Ksh150,000/= for branch within municipality(c) Branch within a town council ksh 100,000/=[d] Branch within an urban council Ksh 30,000/=


One Year

Required Information

  • Full Name of Applicant
  • Address of Applicant
  • Location of Foreign Exchange Bureau
  • License Number
  • A tax clearance certificate.
  • Evidence of provisional tax payment
  • Full names, addresses and designations of the employees of the bureau.
  • Proof of legal identification. Your national driver’s license or international passport are the best for this.
  • Proof of legal address. House rent receipts, and utility bills stating your house address are acceptable.
  • Bank statement. Not all Authorities require this except for further verification purpose or alternatives.
  • Utility Bill Receipt. Some Authorities require this to further verify your legal identity and proof of social responsibility. 


  • The National Bank has broad powers in the affairs of banks. It can suspend or remove a CEO, director or other senior executives,
  • It also can suspend voting right of an influential shareholder when he fails to fulfill the ethical requirements of the Central Bank.
  • No person shall carry out a Banking business unless he/she is in possession of a Banking Business License.
  • A person who fails to contravenes or fail to comply with section 33D shall be guilt of any offence and shall be dealt with in accordance with Financial laws.

How much do you need to start a bank in Kenya?

Evidence to be submitted includes either copies of certified bank statements, Fixed Deposit Receipts (FDRs) or Government Securities. Currently a minimum capital of Kshs 1 billion is required to start a bank or a mortgage finance company.

How banks are regulated in Kenya?

The banking sector is regulated by the Central Bank and the governing legislation is the Banking Act, Cap 488 of the Laws of Kenya. The securities sector is regulated by the Capital Markets Authority and the governing legislation is the Capital Markets Act, Cap 485A.

Which is the richest bank in Kenya?

National Bank of Kenya, In 2019, it became a subsidiary of the Kenya Commercial Bank Group. The bank has the largest assets in Kenya which amount to over $7 billion.