- An unexpected piece of news today was the announcement that Diamond Trust intends to acquire Habib Bank. Diamond Trust is Kenya’s sixth largest bank with assets of Kshs 230 billion (September 2016), while Habib is number 34 with assets of Kshs 11 billion. The banks have a common shareholding though the Aga Khan network. EDIT: the purchase will be done by the issuance of 13.28 million shares of Diamond Trust at Kshs 137.39, valuing the deal at Kshs 1.82 billion. Other shareholders of Diamond Trust will be diluted by 4.75%.
- A week earlier, the Central Bank of Kenya also announced that it was in the process of licensing two new banks – DIB and Mayfair. DIB Kenya is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank, a leading sharia compliant bank from the United Arab Emirates. DIB is not associated, and won’t want to be linked to the Dubai Bank that’s currently in liquidation. Mayfair Bank is owned by a diverse group of Kenyan investors with interests in various sectors (including politics)
- Also, a decision on Chase Bank is expected in the next few weeks. A target had been set to restore the bank back to indecent owners by the first anniversary of it being put into receivership. A merger or buyout is likely.
- More mergers expected with the credit squeeze on small banks?
Some are carry-overs from 2015, but still having an impact on the banking sector in 2016 include:
1. The shutdown of Chase Bank in April 2016 came after a 24-hour period that started with a second set of 2014 financial accounts published in unclear circumstances in a newspaper, with different figures. Whether this was due to a reclassification of Shariah loans or (insider) director lending was never explained, but it accelerated an ongoing run of withdrawals and the Central Bank had to close the bank the next day. While it reopened a few weeks later with funding from the central bank (channeled through KCB), and depositors have been able to access some of their funds, the bank is not back to its full standing (it’s till not lending in full, and there’s a moratorium on depositors interest) and new investors are being sought to enable the bank to stand on its own from April 2017.
2 Njomo Bill: In a rare bi-partisan move, usually reserved for their own salary raises, members of parliament rallied around to take on an even less popular target – that of super profit making, high-interest rate, banks with the Njomo bill. This was the latest attempt to rein in interest rates and the president surprisingly signed the bill, passing on a hot potato which was expected to lead to a slowdown in lending and make banks less attractive to investors.
3. Governor Patrick Njoroge at the Central Bank. Widely admired by the public for his no-nonsense enforcement & understanding of rules, supervision, austerity, and honestly to clean up the banking sector, but vilified in some circles for his unreasonable decision-making that has seen three banks close under his watch.
4. Last year Imperial Bank closure was a shock, and in 2016 the extent of the shell is still becoming clear through numerous court documents pitting the receivers, regulators, shareholders, some customers and even the family of the later managing director who engineered the fraud. But all that pained depositors want to know is, where is the money, how much money is there, and when will they get paid?
5. Lax government banking. From not following up whistleblowers on Family, Chase and Imperial, to a reluctance to act on South Sudan leaders. From double payments to government contractors, to county and national governments having dozens of banks accounts for inexplicable reasons. From a parastatal moving to a single signatory and withdrawing all its’ funds to pay a fictitious contract, and the funny banking of NYS money by Josephine Kabura at Family Bank. The anti-fraud / anti-money laundering/ anti-terror rules are not being observed.
This morning, the Governor of the Central Bank met with depositors of Chase Bank. He reassured them that, even if the receivership process had been silent, they were his priority and that they were working as fast as they could to reopen the bank and give them full access to their deposits. He said there was a lot of support and goodwill (no one has sued him in this case, as has happened with other banks), and that the numbers at Chase Bank were not mysterious (unlike with other banks). He mentioned that they recovered Kshs 8 billion from directors within two weeks and that they were working to accelerated debt recovery and get non-performing loans performing.
He added that contrary to the perception that the bank should never have been placed under receivership other banks and that this has made investors lose faith in banking in Kenya, he said that other bankers tell him that the sector has gotten stronger, more stable and more credible as they believed it was important to clean up this sector and that laws were followed. He said that other countries were looking at Kenya and emulating actions e.g. Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique.
Phase three of the receivership now commences, and in the next few weeks, they are inviting final expressions of interest to invest in Chase Bank for them to review. They want serious investors who will have the resources (no Mickey-Mouse, or Johnny-come-Lately ones) to support the bank and take it higher even after the receivership is lifted which should be sometime in Q1 2017. He hoped that matter is wrapped up by the time the first anniversary (Chase Bank was placed in receivership on April 6 2016) comes round, and that Chase Bank becomes a case study for bringing a bank out of receivership and sustaining it.
There were lots of question from shareholders, on asking for timelines for full restoration of the bank, payments of any other tranches (no plans for that), that they should get paid interest for the receivership period (he said he’d rather work towards them getting full access to their principal deposits and have any discussion of interest with the new investors).
He thanked KCB and the hard working staff of CBK, and mentioned that a KPMG audit of Chase was still ongoing. He thanked the customers for their support which he said was indicative of their belief in the bank. 13,000 new accounts have been opened since the receivership was lifted and only a tenth of what they expected was withdrawn when the bank was reopened.
According to the Central Bank’s Q1 summary, non–performing loans at commercial banks have increased this year by 15% to Kshs 171 billion in March 2016..Real estate sector recorded the highest increase over the quarter by 42% – attributable to slow uptake of housing units. Personal/household sector registered increases of 21% as a result of negative macroeconomic drivers such as job losses and delayed salaries. The manufacturing sector had an increase of 15% due to slow down in business leading to failure to generate enough cash flows to meet all financial obligations. Transport and communication, agriculture and mining and quarrying economic sectors registered decreases in non-perfomign loans between December 2015 and March 2016.
Non-performing loans are still only about 6%, but the report also excluded Charterhouse, Chase and Imperial banks.
- Bank M (of Tanzania) has bought out and rebranded (the former) Oriental Commercial Bank.
- Sidian Bank: Centum bought out and rebranded (the former) K-Rep bank.
- Spire Bank: Mwalimu SACCO bought out and rebranded (the former) Equatorial Commercial bank.
- Chase bank now reopened, but yet to resume lending. An ownership decision is expected soon (process being managed by KCB)
- Credit bank: Discussions are ongoing about a sale to FEP Holdings
- Imperial bank (assets will be assessed and managed by NIC bank)
- Dubai bank (proceeding into liquidation)
- Giro bank which has been bought out by I&M bank.
- edit The CFC brand as CFC Stanbic Bank and CFC Stanbic Holdings (i.e group) becomes Stanbic Bank Kenya and Stanbic Holdings PLC respectively – this comes about nine years after their merger of CFC and Stanbic banks.