NIC was incorporated in Kenya on 29th September 1959, when Standard Bank Limited (“Standard”) and Mercantile Credit Company Limited (Mercantile) -both based in the United Kingdom – jointly formed the company. The company was amongst the first non-bank financial institutions to provide hire purchase and installment credit finance facilities in Kenya.
NIC became a public company in 1971 and is currently quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange with approximately 22,000 shareholders. Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited acquired 51% of NIC’s total shares through the acquisition of Mercantile in the 1970s and Standard’s shareholding in NIC in the 1980s. Between 1993 and 1996, BBK divested its shares, selling 38% of its shares to the public in 1994, and the remaining 20% in 1996 to the First Chartered Securities Group (FCS).
Due to changing trends, regulatory requirements in the Kenyan banking industry and the need to meet growing customer requirements, NIC obtained a commercial banking license in 1995. In order to effectively diversify into mainstream commercial banking, NIC Bank merged in November 1997 with African Mercantile Bank Limited (AMBank), which was then owned by FCS, by way of a share swap. The purpose of this merger was to allow NIC Bank to enhance its market position, provide a broader and more efficient range of services to its customers and increase the returns to shareholders.