Bank Rankings 2018 Part II: New Entrants

Following an earlier ranking of the top banks based on their asset size at the beginning of the year, what are Kenya’s top banks likely to be, nominally based on asset size at the end of the year? In 2018, Interest rate caps and IFRS9 have had an impact on bank performance while the departures of Imperial and Chase banks were announced.

Ranking using September 2018 numbers 

1. KCB Group – Kenya bank assets of Kshs 594 billion assets (and group assets of Kshs 684 billion).

2. Equity – Kenya bank assets of Kshs 424 billion (and group assets of Kshs 560 billion).

* 3 CBA/NIC – combined assets of Kshs 425 billion (as at September 2018) – if an announced merger deal is approved and completed. CBA and NIC are ranked 9 and 10 by assets, and will leap-frog Cooperative Bank, Barclays Kenya, Diamond Trust, Standard Chartered Kenya, Stanbic and Investment & Mortgages (I&M) banks.

4. Co-op Bank Kenya – asses of Kshs 398 billion.

Other new and interesting bank changes this year; 

12.  State-owned National Bank is in search of a shareholder deal to boost capital.

15.  SBM Kenya. The State Bank of Mauritius completed a carve-out and rebranding of assets, staff, branches and customers of Chase Bank in August. For the third quarter of 2018, it reported assets of Kshs 75.5 billion up from 11.7 billion in January 2018. It now has customer loans of Kshs 12.4 billion, customer deposits of Kshs 53.6 billion, and government securities of Kshs 34.8 billion. SBM entered Kenya two years ago by taking over Fidelity Bank that had assets of Kshs 15 billion in 2015 for just $1. KCB also is expected to conclude a takeover deal for collapsed Imperial Bank in 2019.

39. Mayfair Bank was licensed to operate in June 2017 and began operations later in August. Mayfair now has Kshs 5.3 billion in assets and operates three branches in Nairobi and Mombasa.

41 Dubai Islamic Bank – Kenya (DIB Kenya) with Kshs 4.1 billion in assets was licensed in April 2017. It, is the third Shariah-only bank in Kenya, after Gulf African (No. 23 with Kshs 32 billion of assets) and First Community (No. 31 with Kshs 16 billion assets). DIB Kenya is a fully-owned subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank which is one of the largest Islamic banks in the world.

$1 = Kshs 102.

Mara Triangle reports on running the Masai Mara

Earlier in December came some news reports of 26 elephant deaths that had happened in recent months in the Masai Mara area. This came a few months after a national uproar in Kenya over the deaths of 11 rhinos from a wildlife translocation program gone wrong,

The source of the stories on the elephant deaths was a report from the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), but the organization has since retracted the sensational claims.

That said, there’s a great ongoing series of reports on the management or the running of the Masai Mara game reserve by Mara Triangle. Written and archived monthly, the Mara Triangle reports give great insight into activities in the Mara, on topics like revenue collection, security updates (including poaching numbers), staff changes, rainfall, number of visitors, special arrivals, scientific research being done in the Mara, filming in the park and also on wildlife deaths.

Excerpts from different 2018 monthly reports

Revenue

  • March to May is the most difficult period as in those months, expenditure substantially exceeds revenue. March revenue was Kshs 30 million, and July was Kshs 98 million despite 44% of visitors not paying the Conservancy fee. In August they crossed the $1 million revenue mark for the first time ever, earning Kshs 109 million. Majority of visitors were from the Narok side which has better game viewing and management.
  • Discussions are ongoing between the Mara Conservancy and Narok County government, for the Mara Conservancy to manage all aspect of the park, through Seiya Ltd, except revenue collection, which is done by KAPS (Kenya Airports Parking Services). For that, they would retain 30% of the revenue.
  • Instances of non-residents, even Chinese tourists, posing as residents to enter the park, are common.
  • There is a high number of non-paying visitors and KAPS was asked to do a reconciliation. It found that, in April 56% of visitors to the Triangle did not pay the Conservancy.
  • They have applied to Safaricom for a Paybill number so people can use their M-Pesa to pay the conservancy fee. The Paybill number (863297) has since been activated and they hope to move to a cashless system of collections.
  • Governors Balloons started paying revenue for the first time in seventeen years.
Rains and Roads
  • In 2018, the Mara had its highest rainfall since 2006 causing flooding and heavy damage to roads. The rains in the areas were actually the highest recorded in sixty years.
  • Heavy rains damage roads and the management sometimes resorts to closing off some areas of the park. Vehicles crisscrossing off-road, in search of wildlife, only add to the problem. The County Government has directed that it does not want to see any saloon cars, in particular, the Toyota Probox, in the park.

Poaching and Wildlife Deaths

  • They document all wildlife deaths, the causes of these, and if there was a human involvement (versus death from natural causes), especially of elephants and rhinos and the recovery of the tusks and horns from the dead animals.
  • A District Warden from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) collects all recovered ivory after each piece has been recorded and signed for. 
  •  KWS now has a trained prosecutor in Kilgoris and there are discussions on how to fund a training course for non-commissioned officers on wildlife law, preparation of statements and court procedures.
  • Sniffer dogs are an important aspect of park security, tracking poachers and thieves. New dogs are imported from overseas, trained, and extensively traded by vets.
Human-Wildlife Conflict:
  • A study found that the main actors in this are spotted hyaenas (53% of instances), leopards (32%), and then lions (15%).
  • Most households lose an average of 3.5% of their livestock to predators.
  • A compensation system has been developed: a kill is reported, rangers visit the scene to verify, photos are taken, and if approved, payment is done at the end of the month. The Conservancy is then reimbursed by the Angama Foundation.

The World-famous Migration

  • This year, 2018, saw one of the worst migrations in recent years. While newspapers report that Tanzanian authorities started fires to create a barrier for the wildebeest, something that they do every year, this did not in fact delay the migration  – but this was a story put out by the tourist industry to explain why safaris they sold on the basis of the migration did not, in fact, feature the migration.

  •  The heavy rain in the Serengeti in Tanzania meant the wildebeest had enough water and grass and did not need to migrate until later. Wildebeest only move from Serengeti to the Mara if they have exhausted water and foliage.  The Mara used to have its own Loita migration, but that doesn’t exist any more as the Loita wildebeest population has crashed.
Bad Manner and Tourism:
  • There are daily complaints about indiscipline and more up-market operators are avoiding the Mara during the high season. A Dutch diplomat refused to pay fine for driving off-road and then blocked a bridge.
  • There is chaos at many crossings, with as many as 300 vehicles present some with people running between them (and some of these images were shared on social media).

  •  It is very difficult to gauge how much the wildebeest are affected by too many vehicles.  The vehicles disrupt the crossing and drive the animals to quieter spots. 
  • Drivers do not obey rules, especially when they think they are not being monitored. On the 23rd (of September) we had nearly 20 vehicles around a leopard sighting .. It is most unfortunate that we can not rely on our resident drivers, (who are well-trained and from top camps) to police themselves. 
  • Campsites are sometimes left in a mess, including two cases by professional safari guides.
Other Masai Mara findings:
  • Visitors in the year included Narok Governor Tunai, Cabinet Secretaries for Tourism (Balala)  and also for Internal Security (Matiangi). Leslie Roach who had donated $200,000 when the Conservancy was started, also visited the Triangle with her family. Also, John Ward visited Serena, a day before the 30th anniversary of his daughter Julie’s death (Apparently Serena was the last place that Julie was confirmed being seen alive). Some MCA’s visited, requesting assistance and David Attenborough also visited the Mara. He is making a film about the loss of biodiversity in his lifetime and his crew also did some filming for a Netflix series on ecological habits that will be shown in August 2019.  
  • The audit for the year to June 2018 was done by  Deloitte who reported that the Triangle had income of Kshs 263 million and a profit of Kshs 10.5 million after expenses of Kshs 252 million.  
  • KAPS removed three members of staff for possible fraud.
  • Some large Flircameras donated by WWF need repair but that organization no longer has funding for the camera project.

The reason for the collapse of the Zimbabwe Economy

Anonymous guest post. 

Land redistribution (or seizures) didn’t sink the Zimbabwe economy. In fact, a 2011 independent study, quoted at the time in the New York Times (it’s unlikely to get more sceptical than that) declared that the redistribution programme had actually worked – that Zimbabwe was not just more productive; its food security had also rebounded to pre-redistribution levels.

But many (especially Western) analysts politicize the economic crisis without properly comprehending it. They link the collapse of the currency with the collapse of settler production, which in turn is caused by misrule. Misrule is then metaphorised as a trust problem, which is then looped back into the economic crisis, this time as its very basis.

The land redistribution-economic collapse analysis was deliberately trotted out in the early 2000’s by both the British and the white settlers. It’s a myth, as carefully and boldly planned and executed as anything Goebbels ever put out. It’s the Big Lie Theory stunningly executed. The Big Lie worked on a very plausible assumption: given that the white settler control of agro-industry was the heartbeat of the Zim economy, it followed that dismantling it would trigger the disintegration of the economy. This was only true to the extent that the land seizures disrupted productivity so severely as to halt it altogether.

Herein lies the Big Lie: it was easy to assume that a change in land ownership would mean a collapse in agricultural production. This evidently (as the statistics demonstrate) was a manifestly racist assumption. For one, it failed to account for ongoing smallholder production. More to the point, a decade after land redistribution, agricultural production was at the same levels, if not higher than what they were prior to redistribution.

So: what accounts for the collapse of the Zim dollar? The simple answer is sanctions. In 2002, and at the height of the land redistribution programme, (then President) Mugabe refused to sign onto the second phase of the IMF ESAF programme.

In response, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Fund. At the same time, and in solidarity with the white farmers, Bill Clinton (presidency ended in 2001) and the US Congress instituted sanctions against Zimbabwe. The result: Zimbabwe lost ALL its major export markets. And as a follow-on, its hard currency reserves began to tank.

Those sanctions have still not been lifted. This makes Zimbabwe, after perhaps Cuba, Iran and North Korea, the biggest pariah country on earth. Attempts to lift sanctions and the IMF suspension over the past two decades have all been unsuccessful.

One last thing, which I think is at the core of the sanctions question: why haven’t they been lifted? I was at a press briefing in 2010 or thereabouts with (then Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy, Arthur Mutambara. These were clearly individuals who had been brought into Uncle Bob’s cabinet (at the instigation of Mbeki and the grand coalition peace deal) precisely on the calculation that they were acceptable faces to the West.

And the question they were asking was: why have the sanctions not been lifted now after the peace deal? Almost a decade later, the whole determination of the Emmerson Mnangagwa government to conduct a credible poll turned on the assumption that, following such credible poll, sanctions would be lifted.

In fact, one could argue that the current design of the post-election Commission of Inquiry is itself an attempt to convince Bretton Woods and Washington that Zimbabwe now has a ‘credible govt’. But still, there are no clear indications that even if the poll had been deemed credible, that sanctions would be lifted.

So one is now driven very close to the conclusion that Zimbabwe is being turned into the new Haiti i.e. that its punishment for daring to stand up to Western capital and threaten the very idea of white supremacy is going to be punished for generations to come.

Also, read the Guide to Harare, the work of the late Professor Sam Moyo.

KCB relaunches M-Pesa loans with zero interest options

KCB has relaunched KCB M-Pesa loans, small value short-term loan product, with zero interest option along with allowing customers to top-up to their current outstanding loans and roll over loans past the one month.

KCB M-Pesa was launched back in March 2015 in partnership with Safaricom, and they are available from the Safaricom SIM toolkit.  The re-launch came after the migration of the service on to a new platform in partnership with Huawei that will process transactions faster and which is more stable.

KCB CEO Joshua Oigara said that the bank was disbursing Kshs 7 billion worth of loans through mobile, an amount that used to be disbursed over six months at their traditional branches. He announced that the platform improved would bring three new changes to the loan product namely; automatic roll forward of loans if a customer was not able to repay in thirty days, customers could not top-up loan until they reach their credit limits(previously they had to repay an existing loan, in order to qualify for a new ones) and customers will pay zero percent (0%) loan interest if they repay loans on the same day. The zero interest loan offer runs from December 18, 2018, to 17 January 2019 and during this period, customers will be able to enjoy one interest-free loan per week as long as the loan is repaid by midnight of the same day.

Also present at the launch were CEO of Safaricom, Bob Collymore, and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Joe Mucheru.

Nigerian Banks – Diamond and Access to merge

After weeks of speculation, Diamond and Access Banks announced a merger to create the largest bank in Nigeria.

It was reported that the Diamond Bank spurned offers to inject critical capital from US private equity firm, Carlyle that was a key shareholder in the bank and sought other deals, and the statement points to a competitive process out of which Diamond selected Access Bank.

According to an FT report, the deal values Diamond at just over $200 million and would create Nigeria’s biggest bank by both deposits and assets and that the merged entities would have 650 branches and 6,800 that would see some savings through redundancies.

Access will acquire Diamond through a combination of cash and shares with Diamond shareholders receiving Naira 3.13 per share, comprising N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of 2 new Access Bank ordinary shares for every 7 Diamond Bank ordinary shares held.

The merger will result in the end of Diamond Bank with listings of its shares cancelled at the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange when the merger is completed in the first half of 2019. Access is listed in Nigeria, while Diamond was also caught up in the Nigeria vs. MTN forex case.

The Banker Magazine ranked five Nigerian banks among 1,000 top global banks with Zenith, Guaranty Trust, FirstBank, Access Bank and United Bank for Africa featuring. Another ranking of the top banks in Nigeria in 2017 listed Nigeria Zenith, Guaranty Trust, First Bank of Nigeria, Ecobank Nigeria, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa, Diamond Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria, and Fidelity Bank. The banks with a presence in Kenya are Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Ecobank and United Bank for Africa (UBA).