Undeclared shares in BPR might be classified under abandoned properties

On 17 February 2023 at 11:19

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) has said that the issue of shares belonging to shareholders of Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) which currently carries the name of BPR Bank Rwanda following the acquisition by KCB Group, will have been addressed by the end of this year while undeclared shares will be classified as abandoned properties.

BPR Bank was established in 1975 in Kabarondo as people’s bank and later opened branches in different parts of the country.

The goal was to enhance access to financial services among citizens. Members paid contributions and bought cheque books to help them in cash deposits and withdrawal transactions.

The founding members and those who joined the bank until 2007, became shareholders following the merger of operations across all branches and reforms that saw the former financial institution which operated as savings and credit cooperative becoming a commercial bank.

Apart from the reforms, BPR was sold to various firms namely RaboBank, Atlas Mara and most recently, KCB Bank.

The latest acquisition saw the bank changing its name to BPR Bank Rwanda Plc. KCB owns 87.56% shares in the bank while shareholders have 12.44%.

Some shareholders say that they do not have information on the state of their shares, profit and decisions taken at different times.

Speaking during the presentation of resolutions reached by the Quarterly Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee on Thursday 16th February 2023; the Central Bank Governor, John Rwangombwa said that the issue of BPR shareholders is set to be addressed.

“Some shareholders owning 17% have been identified. […] After acquiring BPR recently, KCB gave interested shareholders the option of buying their shares as the case for Atlas Mara,” he said.

Rwangombwa disclosed that there are many shareholders who could not be traced yet their shares are still valid. Announcements have been placed encouraging owners to declare their shares.

“We have set the deadline to address the issues this year. Shares belonging to those who will not have made declarations, will be kept in government’s coffers for abandoned properties. Meanwhile, others are available and work with new investors,” noted Rwangombwa.

On the recent hindrances that saw BPR clients struggling to withdraw their money, Rwangombwa explained that it resulted from system upgrade to streamline services.

He disclosed that the integration of the banks into one organization and transition from the former core banking system led to service interruptions.

Apart from the delay in cash withdrawals, Rwangombwa assured that clients’ funds are safe noting that the issues have been almost addressed.

BPR Bank Rwanda Plc head office.
Rwangombwa has disclosed that there are many shareholders who could not be traced yet their shares are still valid.