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By George Obulutsa
NAIROBI Nov 29 Kenya's central bank hopes
mid-size lender Chase Bank will be brought back out of
receivership sometime during the first quarter of 2017, the
governor said on Tuesday.
The Central Bank took over Chase Bank in April after a run
on its deposits raised fears it would be unable to repay
Chase was the third medium-to-small lender to be closed in
Kenya over a period of nine months, rattling investors in East
Africa's biggest economy, where the level of gross
non-performing loans reported by banks rose sharply last year.
"Our expectation is sometime in Q1 of next year, we will
bring this to fruition," Patrick Njoroge told a news conference.
In April, Njoroge said that he had received nine indications
of interest in Chase Bank, including from the private bank's own
shareholders and other local lenders or investors, as well as
two foreign parties.
In the same month, Chase Bank reopened after KCB Group
was appointed to manage it.
On Tuesday, Njoroge said there was interest from both
foreign and local investors but did not elaborate apart from
saying that they were looking at all possible ways of bringing
Chase Bank out of receivership.
"Everything is on the table, so there is nothing that you
can say is off the table, including even, just as an example, we
haven't said the way to go forward would not include some equity
conversions of deposits or equity conversions of loans."
Kenya's mid-sized Imperial Bank was taken over in October
2015 after fraud was uncovered. Two months earlier, smaller
lender Dubai Bank was put into receivership.
(Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Mark Heinrich)