Category Archives: Bank rankings

Bank of the Year Awards 2021

The Banker magazine is announcing its “Bank of the Year” awards for 2021 today. The awards are grouped by different zones of winners for the Americas, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia and overall global.

For Africa, the winners for best bank in different countries were: Algeria (Citi), Angola (Banco BAI), Botswana (FNB), Cabo Verde (Banco Interatlântico), Comoros (Exim Bank), Democratic Republic of Congo (Trust Merchant Bank), Djibouti (CAC International), Egypt (Banque Misr) and Guinea Bissau (Orabank).

Kenya’s bank of the year was KCB, then Mauritius had SBM, Morocco (Bank of Africa), Mozambique (Millennium BIM), Namibia (Windhoek), South Africa (Nedbank), and Sudan (Omdurman National).

Multiple award winners include Ecobank (best in Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Togo), Equity Bank (for Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda) and Stanbic (for Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe)

Finally, the United Bank of Africa (UBA) won best bank in thirteen countries across the continent – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia. The UBA Group also won the overall “bank of the year 2021” for the Africa region.

Absa Kenya rebounds from Covid hit

As the wave of quarterly financial results by Kenyan banks stream in this month, the banking industry appears to have recovered from the early effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Absa Bank, Kenya’s fifth-largest bank with assets of Kshs 398 billion ($3.6 billion), released its results, showing a 5x growth in pre-tax profits in the half-year, from 1.6 billion last June to 8.0 billion in June 2021. In the half-year period,  it made provisions of Kshs 1.9 billion compared to Kshs 5.3 billion last June. Overall, loans have grown from Kshs 202 to 219 billion (8%) while deposits have grown from Kshs 249 to 264 billion, representing a loan-to-deposit ratio of 83%. 

The banking industry made many responses to Covid-19, including reducing digital bank charges and restructuring customer loans. Absa restructured 59,000 loans worth Kshs 62 billion, representing 30% of its balance sheet. Absa Kenya’s Managing Director, Jeremy Awori, said it had been a good initiative to work with customers as, by June 2021, 94% of the loans have resumed repayments and the bank’s non-performing asset levels were down to below the industry average of 14%. 

In the last seven years, the bank had doubled the size of its balance sheet, navigated the re-branding from Barclays to Absa, and brought down its cost to income ratio from 53% to 45%.

Absa will optimize costs through technology to improve banking services. In 2021, it will invest Kshs 1.6 billion in technology initiatives; they have already launched WhatsApp banking and will upgrade the Timiza digital banking platform, expand agency banking, automate securities trading and increase cash deposit ATMs and rollout of contactless cards. 

Going forward, Absa Kenya management expects that, with the built-up strong capital and liquidity, the bank will be in a good position to pay a dividend to the shareholders at the end of the year which they missed last year.

Stanbic Kenya to pay dividends after Corona-hit year

Stanbic Kenya bucked the expected trend that banks will by dividend-shy after a year of the Covid-19 and became the first bank to announce their full-year 2020 results, and with an unexpected dividend for shareholders.

During the year, the bank, part of the largest financial group in Africa, set out to support the resilience of their customers, staff and the community. 60% of staff now work from home, and 80% of transactions are done on mobile phones. For customers, they extended moratoriums on Kshs 40 billion of loans, that benefited 7,200 customers, and that included Kshs 3.1 billion to SME’s. They also waived charges on digital transactions and paid out 400 retrenchment insurance policy claims. While the banking industry repayment moratoriums that were set in March 2020 lapsed this month, management, led by Kenya Chief Executive, Charles Mudiwa, said that 80% of Stanbic’s customers had reorganized themselves and resumed repaying their loans by December 2020.

Also, the second half of the year was one of recovery of growth and overall, they managed to grow deposits by 12% to Kshs 217 billion and loans by 4% to Kshs 158 billion, while reducing their cost to income ratio, from 56% to 52%.

Stanbic Kenya’s profit after tax was Kshs 5.2 billion, down 19% from the previous year, but the pre-provision profit was up 2%. The bank will pay shareholders Kshs 3.8 per share for a total payout of Kshs 1.5 billion. This is equivalent to 29% of their earnings, and the bank’s management said that, with its strong capital and liquidity, they should also support Stanbic Kenya’s shareholders. They retain a positive outlook for 2021 even as Covid-19 continues, amid the ongoing distribution of vaccines worldwide.

All about EADB

The East African Development Bank (EADB) is a development finance institution, headquartered in Kampala, Uganda and has country offices in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. It was one of the  few institutions that survived the collapse of the original East African community. Its main products are medium-term financing and its long-term loans for projects that can be durations of 12 years. 

The bank is in the news over a case involving Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju over their demand that he repays $13.6 million (~Kshs 1.4 billion) that arose from a $9.19 million loan in April 2015. 

Excerpts from the 2019 EADB annual report:

  • The bank is owned by four East African countries; the Governments of Kenya 27%, Uganda 27%, Tanzania 23% and Rwanda 9.5%. Other shareholders are the African Development Bank with 8.8% and FMO Netherlands with 2.7%. 
  • EADB has $374 million in assets, which includes $190M in cash in the banks. It earned a profit of $8.7 million (~Kshs 944 million). It is exempt from taxes in all members countries but pays no dividend as their policy is to build up capital of the bank.
  • Had $152 million (~Kshs 16.5 billion) of loans of which $58M (38%) are to Tanzania ventures, $39M to Uganda, $36M to Kenya ones and $17M to Rwanda borrowers. $109 million (71%) of the loans are in US dollars which is the preferred currency of most borrowers.
  • Of the loans, $92M are in stage one (performing normally), $52M in stage two (higher credit risk) and $7M are in stage 3 (impaired). 
  • During the year, existing clients – Kayonza Tea Growers, Centenary Rural Development Bank, Opportunity Bank, and the Government of Tanzania all increased their borrowing. Also in 2019, some long term loans paid off and exited the bank including Nkumba University, Sugar Corporation of Uganda and New Forest Company. The bank also participated in the official launch of the Lake Turkana Wind Power which they partially-financed while Strathmore University completed a Law School Centre for which EADB has provided a Kshs 422M loan.
  • The bank disbursed $21.3 million to new projects during the year. Some were: in Tanzania (National Housing Corporation, $30M to Iyumbu Satellite Centre, and to Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation to distribute natural gas to 30,000 households), in Uganda ($6.3M for a medical consumables manufacturing plant in Kampala), in Rwanda ($10M to a new cement plant and four lines of credit to a national development bank) and in Kenya (Kshs 30M working capital to Jumuia Hospitals in Huruma), Sidian Bank (EUR 2 million credit line) and Musoni Microfinance  (EUR 1 million credit line). 
  • They have borrowed $81 million from multilateral development banks and other financial institutions including the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank ($22M), CBA ($9M), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa ($10M) and a new line from KFW Germany ($7.8M) whose recipients include Sidian Bank, Musoni Diary and West Kenya Sugar. 
  • Kenya’s  Treasury Principal Secretary, Dr. Julius Muia sits on the board while Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Amb. Ukur Yattani sits on the Governing Council along with other East African finance ministers.

Older notes on how EADB is different from a typical commercial bank:

  • EADB disburses payments to third parties e.g. supplier or contractors for work done/services rendered to sponsor. Disbursements are made against presented supplier invoice or completion certificate for building works. They insist that sponsors procure through open tendering as much as possible.
  • Most EADB loans are repaid quarterly except leases which are monthly. Projects are required to set up standing orders for loan repayment. 
  • They don’t have a deposit-taking, commercial bank so borrowers make repayments to special accounts at other banks (escrow accounts) e.g. payments from buyers of apartments financed by EADB are made into such accounts.
  • Companies are required to submit quarterly accounts for monitoring and failure to submit accounts can delay further disbursement to a project.
  • EADB lending approval decisions are made based on the loan amount involved and applications that are larger than $1 million are approved by the board of directors.
  • As a DFI, some criteria for the financing of projects include economic measures such as increasing the level of real consumption, contribution to government revenue (corporate tax, VAT, excise, export taxes), foreign exchange saved, and employment opportunities created.
  • Projects in arrears get transferred to their “Work Out Unit,” a special department that determines how to resolve these – either by a recovery (sale of assets), write-off (after selling assets), or a turnaround (reviving projects to normal) which is the preferred and most successful option. Sometimes, the borrower is asked to recommend a buyer of assets (provide leadership) if it becomes necessary to sell some of them. 
  • The bank enjoys immunity from prosecution and this has been raised by Tuju’s lawyers in several pleadings. In the past, EADB has also faced challenges including petitions to wind it up, such as a decade ago when they trying to recover over $13M from Blueline, a Tanzanian transporter.  
  • edit On September 28, the OPEC Fund for International Development signed a $20 million loan in favour of the East African Development Bank to go towards supporting SMEs and infrastructure projects in East Africa, in the third loan of this kind that the OPEC Fund has provided to EADB.

Absa Kenya absorbs Covid hit

Absa Kenya reported their June financial results, continuing the thread of banks taking being impacted by the reduced business activity and increased credit risks occasioned by COVID-19.

Kenya’s fifth-largest bank with Kshs 392 billion ($3.62 billion) in assets saw its deposits and loans higher than 8% last June and a pre-provision profit of Kshs 8.6 billion for the half-year.

However, the bank increased its provisions for bad loans threefold due to COVID-19 impacts and IFRS9 guidelines from Kshs 1.6 billion to 5.3 billion. This resulted in a net profit before tax and exceptional items of Kshs 3 billion, down from Kshs 6 billion last June, with a further one-time charge of Kshs 1.7 billion as the cost of completing the transformation from Barclays to Absa in the first half of the year.

During COVID, the bank had focused on helping its customers manage their livelihoods and has restructured 56,000 loan accounts, worth Kshs 57 billion, 28% of the loan book. COVID-19 has hit across the sector and commercial banks in Kenya have restructured a combined Kshs 844 billion of loans, 29% of the industry’s total. Absa’s bad loans are now at 8% compared to 13.1% average for the banking sector in June 2020.