Dar es Salaam. KCB Bank Tanzania will rebrand its Stone Town branch to KCB Sahl Bank as it seeks to align its operations with shariah banking requirements and get an increased number of customers.

The majority of people in Zanzibar are Muslims. “This is a deliberate strategy to create an identity that connects to the people of Zanzibar,” the bank’s head of marketing and corporate affairs, Christine Manyenye, said in a statement yesterday. KCB was established in Zanzibar in 1896 when it was a mere branch of the Indian National Bank.

It then expanded to Kenya in 1904 during the construction of the Kenya-Uganda Railway and morphing into Gridlays Bank when the National Bank of India joined with the Grindlays Bank to financially empower the people of Zanzibar.

In 1970, the Kenyan government bought majority shares in the bank and after a spell of the Tanzanian market; KCB reopened its doors in Tanzania Mainland in 1997 before extending to Zanzibar in 2008.

According to Ms Manyenye, Sahl (Islamic) banking services targeting both Muslims and non-Muslims continue to gain traction globally, with latest World Bank statistics indicating that global the Islamic finance industry has been expanding at between 10-12 per cent annually over the past decade. As of 2015, Sharia-compliant financial assets were estimated at roughly $2 trillion, covering bank and non-bank financial institutions, capital markets, money markets and insurance (Takaful).