More banks set up in the 1900s
In 1900 National Bank of India’s business had sufficiently grown to enable the bank to purchase land and construct its own building in Treasury Square in Mombasa.
The railway finally arrived at Kisumu in 1901 and helped to open up the hinterland for business. The fastest growing inland centre was Nairobi which had been established in 1899 as a camp for the railway crew.
In 1904, National Bank of India set up its first East African hinterland branch in Nairobi. The bank’s business would grow as development in Nairobi grew.
With economic growth in the protectorate more banks were attracted to the country, necessitating the government to pass the first Banking Ordinance in 1910 to regulate their operations.
In January 1911, the Standard Bank of South Africa opened two branches in Kenya, one at Treasury Square in Mombasa and the other on Delamere Avenue in Nairobi.
The National Bank of South Africa came in 1916.
In 1920, the EA Protectorate was declared a colony of the British Empire and its name changed to Kenya. The new colonial status helped the three banks grow rapidly mainly through increased deposits from European and Asian customers.
In 1925 the National Bank of South Africa was merged with the Colonial Bank and the Anglo-Egyptian Bank to form Barclays Bank DCO (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) which took over the operations of the three branches of the National Bank of South Africa.
Despite political upheavals such as World War II and the subsequent Mau Mau uprising, banking in Kenya experienced considerable growth. Between 1945 and 1960 Barclays Bank clerical staff grew from 283 to 1,163. In 1951 the bank also completed construction of a modern building on Queensway – at the time the tallest building in East Africa – to house its main branch and head office in the colony.
The steadily growing Kenyan economy would soon lead to an influx of new banks in the decade between 1950 and 1959.
In 1951 the Dutch bank Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, now renamed the Algemene Bank Nederland, N.V. (or General Bank of the Netherlands) opened a branch in Nairobi. It was followed in 1953 by Bank of Baroda on December 4th with its first branch also in Mombasa. The Pakistan-based Habib Bank (Overseas) Ltd came in 1956 while the Ottoman Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa rounded off the rush by establishing branches in the country in 1958.
After India attained her independence from Britain in 1947 and the subsequent hiving off of Pakistan, National Bank of India changed its name in 1958 to National Overseas and Grindlays Bank (later called National and Grindlays Bank) following its merger with Grindlays Bank, another London-based bank which traced its roots to Calcutta, India.
By 1951 the banks had expanded their branches considerably. Grindlays Bank had branches in Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu and Kericho. Standard Bank of South Africa boasted branches in Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru, Kisumu, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Kitale, and agencies in Thika and Molo; while Barclays DCO had branches in Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kitale, Eldoret, Kisumu and Thompson’s Falls, and agencies in Thika and Kilindini.