The First Merchant Bank (FMB) this week bought Opportunity Bank of Malawi (OBM), Maravi Post has established. The development was revealed at the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) on Tuesday night.
According to OBM officials the take-over is due to financial crises that OBM has experienced. OBM Board Chairman Fraser Hume, IN Lilongwe, confirmed to the media, the FMB takeover.
According to Hume, all the processes of the take-over, have been finalized, and that the two banks were waiting for Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) approval, which is the regulator of financial services in Malawi.
Speaking to journalists, FMB chairperson Hitesh Anadkat, while confirming the development, denied to disclose whether his company will in the process retrench some of OBM workers. All he could say was “it is too early.”
“OBM is indeed, in our hands now, but on issues of whether we shall retrench some of its workers, I cannot comment on now,” said Anadkat.
“This acquisition will increase the (FMB) balance sheet by 15 percent. I have no doubt that we will learn a great deal from our new OBM colleagues about how to carry out FMB’s strategic intent of growing our structured finance business, especially with smallholder farmers,” Anadkat said.
Recently, FMB announced that it had bought Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Limited.
Maravi Post has also established that FMB has operations in Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia, where it operates as Capital Bank.