Category Archives: CBK

Chase Bank Depositors updated on SBM Deal

Yesterday, officials from the Central Bank (CBK) and the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) met depositors of Chase Bank too outline the way forward following the offer deal between the State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) and the CBK for the acquisition of selected assets and liabilities of Chase Bank that is still in receivership.

Peter Nduati, the founder and CEO of the Resolution Group, and a Chase Bank customer tweeted some highlights from the Nairobi meeting.

  • At the #Chasebank depositors meeting. CBK Governor briefing on the back story.
  • SBM will take a maximum of Staff and Branches. There is no compulsion on the part of the staff to move.
  • Moratorium deposits will have 75% of the money move to SBM out of which 50% will have ready access in a current account whilst the balance remains at 7% interest
  • CBK says operationalization is a matter of weeks as far as depositors are concerned. Loans may take 2 months.

  • To paraphrase, we will lose 25% of the deposit but will get 37.5% immediately. 37.5% will be availed in 3 annual tranches with a 7% interest.
  • Its a better position for depositors but not optimum. At least 37.5% will be available and the balance will be in a term deposit earning interest.
  •  For a collapsed bank, I guess it’s the best deal. We have waited almost two years.
  • Non-moratorium depositors move to SBM.
  • I haven’t seen him (Zaf) or Duncan since 2016. Are they here even?

Kenya’s CBK risk safeguards against bank laundering and terror financing

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has published new guidelines to assist Kenyan banks to assess and mitigate the risk that their institutions and systems may be used for money laundering (ML) or terrorism financing (TF).
They risk rules stipulate, among other proposals that:
  • Senior management of banks are to implement board-approved money laundering/terror financing policies.
  • Bank staff are to prepare periodic reports on money laundering and terrorism finance for their senior management and boards of the bank and also communicate these to the CBK. 
  • Financial institutions will be required to appoint a money laundering reporting officer who will be the point of contact for CBK.
  • Banks should assess and rank TF and ML instances and actions in terms of high, moderate, and low risk. 
  • They should identify countries and regions that are high risk for business; high-risk includes countries subject to sanctions from the UN and other credible organizations, countries that don’t have appropriate banking safeguards and countries known to sponsor terrorism.
  • Banks are to assess their customers for money laundering and terror financing risks; suspicious customer activities include frequent and unexplained movements of money to other accounts, or other institutions, and to far locations. They should also look at politically exposed persons who bank with them including prominent public figures, senior politicians, judicial officers, corporate CEO’s who dealing with them, or their families, may bring a reputational risk to the bank.
  • Banks are to assess their service delivery channels for money laundering risks. They are to pay attention to cash-intensive businesses, including supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, retail stores, liquor stores, wholesale distributors, car dealers. 
The guidelines follow an earlier directive on paper bag banking from two years ago. The new ML and TF rules are in draft form and bankers and any interested persons are invited to send comments to the CBK on the proposals before January 31, 2018.

Citi’s outlook on Kenya Banking

Citi Bank has been producing some insightful research reports on companies they watch like KCB, Equity and Safaricom for their investment clients.  The latest one (Will it stay or will it go? — Awaiting clarity on the Banking Act) is an outlook on Kenya banking, based on the financial results that all banks released for the third quarter of 2017 which is exactly a year after Kenya’s Parliament passed a law, which the President then signed, that capped all Kenya banking loan rates at a maximum of 14% per year.

Citi’s findings:

  • Despite the Banking Act of 2016, Kenya’s leading banks maintain among the highest margins (8~9% NIMs) and returns (ROTE 20~23%) of any frontier market, coupled with strong capitalization, a stable currency and an improving political environment.
  • While there is little clarity on the future of the Banking Act, we acknowledge that many investors are interested in that “what if?” case if the legislation was to be amended, and hence provide a sensitivity analysis to gauge the upside from changes to the regulatory regime.
  • The Kenya banking sector is fairly concentrated with the top 5 banks controlling just under half of the assets (48%), KCB is the largest bank with a 14% market share, followed by Equity Bank and Cooperative bank with 10% each. A similar story for deposits, with the top 5 banks accounting for 50% of the market, KCB is the largest player with a 15% share, followed by Equity Bank at 11% and Cooperative bank at 10%.

The Citi report notes that KCB who grew loans by 9% in the third quarter despite the interest rate cap has a diverse client base that makes it easier for the bank to navigate the challenging environment. KCB has expressed interested in acquiring smaller banks like National Bank, as it also it pulled back from volatile South Sudan in May 2017, where it only retains a license.

Equity has put brakes on lending, with flat loans growth in the third quarter. The bank’s Equitel is now Kenya’s second largest mobile money platform after Safaricom’s M-Pesa, with 4% of customers and 23% value of transactions. Equitel appeals to customers as it has no internal charges. Meanwhile, mobile loan growth fell in the half year at Equity as the bank tightened lending standards, while KCB’s grew. Still, Equity disbursed 1.6 million mobile loans through Equitel in the first half of 2017.

The Citi report also notes that KCB lags Equity in the digital push, with mobile phones accounting for 70% of transactions at Equity and  57% at KCB. Elsewhere, 86% of all customer transactions at Co-op Bank are done on alternative delivery channels mainly mobile banking, ATMs, internet and agency outlets. Another finding was that the large banks have benefitted from the flight to safety by depositors following the collapse of three smaller banks in 2015-16.

The Citi Report looked at the Kenya banking interest rate caps under three scenarios with the first  being that the caps are extended even further to bank charges. The report mentions that the Kenya banking regulator, the Central Bank (CBK), had rejected 13 out of 16 commercial bank applications to increase charges, all pointing to tough times for banks in a slow loan growth environment. The second scenario was that the interest rate cap remains as is, and the third scenarios was that the caps are loosened by excluding some loan segments which will allow banks to lend at higher rates to riskier segments like SME’s, retail and micro-finance clients. However, Citi finds that the interest rate caps are not going away soon, and they are here to stay, probably for a few years. 

Finally, the Citi report (published on 19 November), rates KCB as a ‘buy’ with a target share price of Kshs 47 (current price on December 8 is Kshs 43), while they are neutral about Equity Bank which they value at Kshs 38.5 per share (current price is Kshs 41) as they think it is fairly valued.

Spire Bank Capital Injection

Spire Bank shareholders will hold an extraordinary general meeting at the end of November 207 to approve an increase in bank capital that has been eroded by recent losses at the bank.

At the November 27 EGM, shareholders will approve the creation of 100 million new shares, worth Kshs 500 million that will be allocated to Equatorial Commercial Holdings. Kenyan banks are to have a minimum core bank capital of Kshs 1 billion, and as at June 2017, Spire’s capital was down to Kshs 1.6 billion and the bank had a half-year loss of Kshs 307 million coming on the back of a 2016 loss of Kshs 967 million. Spire had Kshs 13 billion assets, Kshs 6.4 billion loans, and Kshs 7.6 billion deposits as at June 2017. But interest income and total income at the half-year was sharply down from that in June 2016 which could point to their performance trend for the end of 2017.

In 2015, Mwalimu SACCO one of the country’s largest credit societies bought out and rebranded the former Equatorial Commercial Bank as Spire. Equatorial had itself been formed from a merger between Southern Credit and Equatorial banks in 2010. 

Mwalimu SACCO has Kshs 37 billion in assets and Kshs 3 billion profit in 2016 and has over 70,000 members as owners.  This is the second bank capital injection by Mwalimu at Equatorial after another with the buyout. The shares will be allocated among Equatorial Commercial Holdings which owns 98% of Spire bank has shareholders including Mwalimu National Holdings (75%), Yana Towers (10%), A.H. Butt (8%), Yana Investments (6.75%, and who also own 11% of CBA) and N.N. Merali (0%).

SBM Offer for Chase Bank

Update: Jan 5 2018 

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) announce the receipt and acceptance of a Binding Offer from SBM Holdings Limited (SBM) with respect to Chase Bank (Kenya) Limited (In Receivership) (CBLR).

The offer still needs to be executed and operationalised, and it is expected that this transaction will inter alia ensure the transfer of 75 percent of the value of deposits currently under moratorium and the transfer of staff and branches of the existing CBLR operations. Non-moratorium depositors will continue to have full unrestricted access to their funds.

Original: October 11 2017 – On Monday, October 9, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) issued a statement about their receipt of a non-binding offer from the SBM Holdings (State Bank of Mauritius – SBM) for parts of Chase Bank.

It came after another meeting last Friday to update Chase Bank depositors about the progress of the expression of interest (EOI) with depositors, and which was then followed by some news articles that prompted some alarm over the ‘loss’ of deposits at Chase from the SBM takeover.

The statement mentions SBM’s offer to acquire some assets (i.e. loans) that are matched (i.e. equal) to some liabilities (i.e. customer deposits at Chase)  and went ahead to mention that there would be a substantial recovery of deposits and retention of staff and branches of Chase Bank.

The bank, which was expected to be a quick receivership, and concluded in April this year, now has a hole of Kshs 35 billion and the estimate is that SBM will support the recovery of 75% of the deposits as at when Chase Bank was closed in April 2016. One third of the funds will be available on January 1, another third will be available in a savings account that will earn interest (it was a sore point for depositors to hear that their funds in the bank that was known for great rates had not been earning interest since it was closed in April 2016), and a third will be available in installments over the next three years.

The final amount will be recovered by suits and fraud cases against the defaulters who may include directors and managers (insiders) at the bank.

While CBK had earlier reported that 12 banks had replied to the EOI (three Kenyan banks, four foreign banks, and five financial consortiums), the standard quotes the CBK Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, as saying “All the investors in the end indicated that they were not interested in taking up the bank, save for one who was only interested in carving out some assets and liabilities and not an entire acquisition.

SBM has a substantial Government of Mauritius shareholding, and this will be the second bank that SBM is buying in Kenya, after they took over Fidelity Bank and one story is that their rescue of  Fidelity was tied to some assurance that they would also get Chase, ahead of other bidders.

SBM will do due diligence on what branches and staff it wants to retain going forward. The Chase recovery seems similar to one that Imperial Bank shareholders had initially proposed when they found a hole at their bank – one of staggered access to funding, immediate, then some spaced over three years.