EXCLUSIVE: Queries as Crane Bank MD Quits

The body of former Observer newspaper journalist, there Joan Twizere Uwimana who drowned at Itanda falls on River Nile on Sunday afternoon has been found.

25-year-old Uwimana fell into the river as she was taking photographs with 18-year-old Amon Katanda, physician a family friend with whom she had gone to tour the falls.

According to Jinja North Divisional Police Commander, ambulance ASP Samuel Madira, Uwimana’s body was discovered by police marines after a four-day hunt.

The bad news has left Uwimana’s family and friends in a state of misery and also sent shivers down the spines of the journalism community in Uganda.

It was earlier hoped that Uwimana would courageously swim through the brutal falls to the shores.

The deceased was a public relations officer at Rubaga Hospital.

NTV journalist, Tumusiime Uwitware, shared her grief: “I will forever miss you Nshuti Joan Twizere Uwimana. Rest in peace darling. Rest in perfect peace. I know you are in a better place. With Love. It’s well with my soul.”

Daily Monitor reporter, Isaac Imaka observed: “After four disheartening days of searching, your are finally found. May eternal rest be granted unto Joan Twizere Uwimana, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon you. May your soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through God’s mercy, rest in peace. Amen.”
The Managing Director of Crane Bank has quit following the financial institution’s poor performance in the last two years, viagra dosage Chimp Corps report.


R Kalan, case who boasts over 20 years experience in international banking, corporate credit and human resource management, left Crane Bank in June but his exit remained a tightly-guarded secret.

On its website, the bank describes Kalan as “a seasoned and dynamic banker with a penchant for cultivating enduring customer relationships.”

Chimpreports understands that Kalan’s deputy, Ajay Kumar, also threw in the towel.

A qualified accountant with over 20 years experience in merchant banking, commercial banking, accounting, taxation auditing and finance, Ajay was tasked with overseeing the operations, finance and IT departments of the bank.

The head of credit finance at the bank is also said to have called it quits.

The bank is owned by Forbes-listed billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia, a prominent businessman and chairman of Ruparelia Group of companies.

Efforts to reach Sudhir were fruitless as his known mobile phone was switched off on Wednesday afternoon.

Sources said the businessman is on a working trip to London, United Kingdom and that he would return by close of this week.

Kalan was literally the Bank’s spokesperson as he regularly responded to media queries.

What happened?

Kalan and Ajay’s decision to quit the financial institution remains unclear since an official statement is yet to be released.

However, insiders say the two high profile officials developed misunderstandings with Sudhir due to the Bank’s poor performance in the loans section especially in 2012 and 2013.

Crane Bank, with assets worth Shs 1.4tn, saw its profits plunge by 41 per cent to Shs 47bn in 2013.

This implies Crane Bank wrote off Shs29.9 billion in bad debts, up from Shs26.8 million in 2012.

Yet, compared with other banks, this wouldn’t have been a cause for alarm.

For example, Uganda’s largest bank, Stanbic Bank with an asset base of Shs 3.2tn, registered a 22 per cent (Shs 101bn) profit shortfall.

The bank blamed the decline in profits to a decrease in loans and advances, increase in expenses, and a rise in the number of debts it has written off.

Centenary Bank was compelled to write off a staggering Shs 7.8bn in bad loans, up from Shs 4bn in 2012 while Dfcu Bank wrote off Shs 15bn. It should be noted that in 2012, Dfcu cancelled loans worth shs8.7bn.

Standard Chartered Bank said that last year, its non-performing loans and other assets increased from Shs 10bn in 2012 to Shs 120bn last year.

As if this is not enough, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), wrote off Shs3.2bn up from Shs2.1bn; Finance Trust Bank cancelled Shs1 bn up from Shs688m and Post Bank wrote off Shs1.5 bn, up from Shs863m.

Equity bank set aside Shs2.9 bn in bad debts, up from Shs1 bn in 2012 while Housing Finance also saw a jump in bad loans from shs3.9bn to Shs7.7 bn.

Banks blamed the losses to the turbulent economic times.

Stanbic Managing Director, Philip Odera, while releasing the company’s results recently, was quoted as saying the effects of the 2011 economic slump were haunting the banking sector.

“Inflation [in 2011 and 2012] went through the roof. As a result, interest rates were pushed through the roof,” Odera said.

Kalan exit

With this state of economy, it remains unclear why Kalan decided to quit the bank. Was it because Sudhir expected him to do more to insulate the financial institution from such huge bad loans?

Reports indicate that Kalan is currently out of the country to keep an eye on a family member suffering from a brain tumour. Chimpreports could not establish whether he would return soon.

However, there is speculation that Crane bank is targeting Kalan’s assets valued in billions of shillings.

The development comes at a time when the banks are struggling to make profit at the same attract borrowers.

Hundreds if not thousands of Ugandans have in the last four years lost properties worth billions of shillings due bad loans.

Bank of Uganda continues to urge commercial banks to reduce interest rates with the view of pulling borrowers.

Speaking at a recent function in Kampala, deputy Governor,, Louis Kasekende said commercial banks’ poor performance in 2013 should not be a cause for alarm.

“We would not have liked to move from 2.8 per cent in the past years before 2011 to the 6 per cent level in non-performing loans in banks but this level is still good by the international standard, which put the bad loans rate above 10 per cent,” he observed.

The Central Bank Governor, Tumusiime Mutebile argues that financial institutions must make good use of technology to avoid incurring higher operation costs.

“One of the ways in which costs can be lowered is through the introduction of new technologies for delivering financial services, such as information technology,” said Mutebile at the recent launch of Orient bank’s latest branch at Acacia mall in Kampala.

He also vowed to “continue to conduct vigorous financial sector regulation and supervision to ensure that all banks are well capitalized and that they have robust risk management framework.”


By Giles Muhame

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