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Paramount Bank

PARAMOUNT BANK: “We want to grow our foot hold both physically and intensify mobile technology to get better diversified client base.”

Paramount Bank Limited was established in 1993 as a non-banking financial institution known as Combined Finance Ltd, with a share capital of Kshs.25Million, offering general deposits and personal lending products. In 1995, it commenced banking business as a fully-fledged commercial bank offering a complete range of banking services including foreign exchange, current accounts and corporate finance products. The share capital was then enhanced and changed its name to Paramount Bank Limited.

To further strengthen its base, acquire market share and take advantage of better economies of scale, Paramount Bank Limited underwent a merger in the year 2000 thus resulting in Paramount Bank Limited. The bank went live on the SWIFT network in March, 2003, thus providing her customers with secure and efficient worldwide money transfer services.

Paramount Bank

To further strengthen its base, acquire market share and take advantage of better economies of scale, Paramount Bank Limited underwent a merger in the year 2000 thus resulting in Paramount Bank Limited. The bank went live on the SWIFT network in March, 2003, thus providing her customers with secure and efficient worldwide money transfer services.


2017 was more than difficult year for Paramount Bank, with the electioneering period slowing down economic growth and full effect of the interest capping in 2016 felt during the period. For Paramount it was an year of consolidation, and trying to maintain what they had.

“The bank performed steadily, the bottom-line stayed the same with net interest going up. The loan book did not grow however the base for our deposit expense improved increasing out interest income. Lending stayed stable because it was difficult to take up risky borrowers. As far as government securities we did not invest making it an easy outlet for income, we did not change our model that much.” says Mr. Ayaz Merali MD Paramount Bank

Ayaz Merali, CEO, Paramount Bank

Mr. Merali is very optimistic about 2018, now that the political temperatures have gone down. “Now we are down to business, there’s a good feature for the next year, the new hitch is the new accounting standard that will be a bit challenging for some players in the sector. Our clients are high net worth individuals and SME’s who came in as smaller businesses that we have seen grow. We dedicate our time to our clients, nurture them and take them to the next level.”

The interest rate capping in 2016 coerced many banks to re think their organizational focus, with priority shifting to survival mode well at least till when the turbulent storm quells.

“The interest rate cap meant different for various institutions, my observation of the results of many banks was the ones that has a wide margin between what they were lending and they were paying on deposits I think those showed depressed results, the ones that were competitive enough had equal gain and loss.” admits Mr. Merali

“I think it will be repealed in some manner, it came in as a blanket rate, and you cannot compare every borrower with the same yard stick. Having a standard model is not possible, I think there will be different products for different banks in relevance to the services/products you require and convenience for them as well.” adds Mr. Merali

With the notion that the Banking sector is flooded by players offering the same products and services, one would say there is for consolidation to better work together. Mr. Merali however thinks there is no need for consolidation of smaller upcoming banks with the bigger players, he says the more the diversity the more stable the market is. “ the ones that are non competitive or charge too much will be driven out by no business at all means, but if there is market that needs them then they will exist. “

Mr. Merali is confident that IFRS 9 will have no effect for Paramount Bank, “our loans are collateralized and asset backed. For the banking industry it will be a big turnaround especially if lending is not securitized. We already compliant, we have had extensive training on how this would impact the Bank. We came up with a standard on how to do probability on the risk and further base that on the accounts.”

Paramount Bank has invested on cyber security which is a progressive challenge and imperative to sector. Redundancy and anti money laundering have already been automated. The Bank is on course in innovating mobile platforms with ongoing plans to offer mobile lending. 


Mr. Merali says in 5 years time Paramount Bank’s balance sheet will double which will be propelled by steady growth and better environment in the next few years. “We want to increase our foot hold both physically and mobile technology to get better diversified client base, we want to be twice the size by then.” he concludes

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