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Kenya - Apply for a Microfinance Bank License

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Procedure[edit]

Apply In Person

  1. To apply for a Microfinance Bank License, the applicant should make the application to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). Please view the Central Bank of Kenya contact details through this CBK Contact Details.
  2. Before making the application for the license, the applicant should first contact the Central Bank of Kenya at an early stage for a preliminary meeting to discuss the CBK licensing requirements and related issues.
  3. Then the applicant should Submit the proposed names of the Microfinance Bank to the Central Bank in descending order of preference accompanied by a brief concept paper on the proposed Microfinance Bank, including evidence of sources and availability of capital. Note: This should be done before the incorporation of the proposed entity as a company limited by shares and the proposed name must incorporate the words “Microfinance Bank”
  4. The Central Bank of Kenya will evaluate the proposed name and approve the request. Note: The name approval is valid for 12 months from the date it’s granted by the Central Bank within which the applicant should have received a license to carry out microfinance bank business.
  5. Upon approval of the name by the Central Bank of Kenya, the applicant should apply to the Registrar of Companies for incorporation of the proposed Microfinance bank, as a limited liability company.
  6. Once the proposed bank is registered as a limited liability company, the applicant should proceed with the Microfinance Bank License application from the Central Bank of Kenya by obtaining the necessary application forms. The forms can be downloaded through the Central Bank of Kenya website Application forms (Microfinance Institutions Forms).
  7. Download and complete the Application Form For A Licence To Carry Out The Deposit-taking Business In Kenya correctly and attach the following supporting documents to the completed application form in a single file:
    • Certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation.
    • Certified copy of the tax Personal Identification Number (PIN) certificate.
    • Certified copy of the registered Memorandum and Articles of Association indicating core capital (at least Kshs 20 million or Kshs 60 million for community and nationwide microfinance bank business, respectively).
    • Verified official notification of the company’s registered place of business, including the prospective places of business (Head Office, branches, agency, and outlets, if any).
    • A declaration witnessed by an advocate or Commissioner of Oaths indicates that the proposed entity has no existing scheme of arrangement with its creditors.
    • Pay a non-refundable application fee of Kshs 5,000 to the Central Bank by Bankers cheque or by such other mode of payment as the Central Bank may prescribe and attach it to the application form.
    • Provide evidence of minimum core capital of Kshs 20 million and Kshs 60 million for a “community” and “nationwide” microfinance bank business, respectively.
    • Prepare and submit a comprehensive feasibility study and business plan covering
    • Duly complete and submit the “Fit and Proper Forms” for all significant shareholders (at least 10% shareholding) and proposed directors accompanied by supporting documentation (certified).
    • Note that Foreign companies intending to set up a local subsidiary will be required to submit further information including but not limited to:
      • A copy of the board resolution authorizing the entity to microfinance bank business in Kenya, and the designated persons who will represent the business in connection therewith.
      • Historical background of the foreign entity.
      • A Signed declaration by the board of directors to adhere to the Microfinance Act and Regulations issued thereunder and other relevant Kenyan laws at all times during the validity of the license.
      • Endorsement letter (or a letter of no objection) from the home supervisory authority.
  8. Then the applicant should pay a non-refundable application fee, payable by banker’s cheque in favor of the Central Bank of Kenya or such other mode of payment as the Central Bank of Kenya may prescribe or as specified under the Fourth Schedule to the Banking Act. Note that the application fee is currently Kshs 5,000.
  9. Upon making the payment, the applicant should submit the completed application along with all the required supporting documents to the Central Bank of Kenya office.
  10. The Central Bank of Kenya will evaluate the application and assessment the fulfillment of all the requirements, then the Central Bank will issue a Letter of Intent, which is an approval in principle and advises the applicant on the next steps and requirements to be fulfilled before issuance of a license and approval to commence operations.
  11. Once the approval is obtained by the applicant, the applicant may proceed to obtain premises, Information Technology Systems, put in place other necessary operating facilities, and recruit staff for the institution.
  12. Then the applicant should invite the Central Bank to inspect the banking facility.
  13. If the inspection is satisfactory, and before issuance of the license by the Central Bank of Kenya, the applicant will be required to pay the prescribed annual license fees. The prescribed annual license fees are payable in full for the year during which the license is initially issued, and shall not be prorated for validity periods less than 12 months.
  14. Once the requisite license fees have been paid, the Central Bank places a notice in the Kenya Gazette to formally specify the institution.
  15. A license is then issued and the newly licensed microfinance can open as a bank.



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Required Documents[edit]

  • Completed application form
  • Application fees payment receipt.
  • Certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Certified copy of the tax Personal Identification Number (PIN) certificate.
  • Certified copy of the registered Memorandum and Articles of Association indicating core capital (at least Kshs 20 million or Kshs 60 million for community and nationwide microfinance bank business, respectively).
  • Verified official notification of the company’s registered place of business, including the prospective places of business (Head Office, branches, agency, and outlets, if any).
  • A declaration witnessed by an advocate or Commissioner of Oaths indicates that the proposed entity has no existing scheme of arrangement with its creditors.
  • Provide evidence of minimum core capital of Kshs 20 million and Kshs 60 million for a “community” and “nationwide” microfinance bank business, respectively.
  • Prepare and submit a comprehensive feasibility study and business plan covering
  • Duly complete and submit the “Fit and Proper Forms” for all significant shareholders (at least 10% shareholding) and proposed directors accompanied by supporting documentation (certified).


  • Note that Foreign companies intending to set up a local subsidiary will be required to submit further information including but not limited to:
    • A copy of the board resolution authorizing the entity to microfinance bank business in Kenya, and the designated persons who will represent the business in connection therewith.
    • Historical background of the foreign entity.
    • A Signed declaration by the board of directors to adhere to the Microfinance Act and Regulations issued thereunder and other relevant Kenyan laws at all times during the validity of the license.
    • Endorsement letter (or a letter of no objection) from the home supervisory authority.



Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

Central Bank of Kenya - Head Office
Haile Selassie Avenue
P.O Box 60000 – 00200,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel / Fax: +254 20 286 0000
Phone: +254 20 286 1000, +254 20 286 3000, +254 709 081 000, +254 709 083 000
Email: [email protected]
CBK Contact Details

Eligibility[edit]

  • Individuals and companies who wish to open a microfinance bank in Kenya.



Fees[edit]

  • The bank name a search and reservation fee of Ksh.1000
  • The application fee is Ksh. 5,000 for a new license (fees are in banker's cheque payable to the Central Bank of Kenya).
  • The license fee of Kshs 150,000 for nationwide microfinance banks and Kshs 100,000 for community microfinance banks are charged.



Validity[edit]

  • The license is valid for one year and is eligible for renewal.



Documents to Use[edit]



Sample Documents[edit]

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.



Processing Time[edit]

  • The license is processed within four months



Related Videos[edit]

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications.
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type='website'>video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the '&' inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver,
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is dkisplayed.
e.g In the following url 'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0US7oR_t3M' Video ID is 'Y0US7oR_t3M'.



Instructions[edit]

Please provide other instructions related to the certificate/documents.
e.g. The state office holds birth records since January 1908.


Required Information[edit]

  • Name of applicant
  • Head/ Main office
  • Physical and postal address of head office/ proposed new outlet
  • Date of incorporation
  • Form of incorporation
  • Description of the applicants business or functions
  • Certificate of incorporation Number
  • Details of subsidiaries and affiliates (Name of Outlet, County, City/Town, Street, Building, Date opened)
  • Particulars of shareholders (Name, Nationality, Date of acquisition, Amount of shareholding, % of shareholding)
  • Particulars of directors (Name, Nationality, Date of appointment, level of education)
  • Particulars of the officers in the order of seniority (Name, Designation, Nationality, Date of appointment)
  • Ownership profiles
  • Shareholding in any other financial institution
  • Name of applicants external auditors
  • Declaration



Need for the Document[edit]

  • This license allows the holders to operate a Micro Finance Bank in Kenya.


Note: A person who operates a Micro Finance Bank without a valid license commits an offense and shall, on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both.


Information which might help[edit]



Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]

Please explain what are other uses for obtaining this document/certificate.
e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.



External Links[edit]



Others[edit]

More information which might help people.