Category Archives: Equity Bank

Kenya’s Top Banks in 2022

Spire (38th in assets), the smallest bank in the country, had been up for sale, and Mwalimu Sacco announced that they would not be putting in any more capital in the Kshs 3.5 billion asset bank to bury a bad investment made in 2015, but still faces resistance from some stakeholders. Equity Group (2) agreed to buy Spire‘s assets in September 2022.

Access, the largest bank group in West Africa, bought Transnational, the 33rd largest bank in Kenya in 2019 and renamed it. Then in June 2022, Access announced that they would take over Sidian Bank (20) with Kshs 43 billion of assets, by buying a majority stake from Centum for Kshs 4.3 billion. 

President William Ruto announced at the Nairobi Securities Exchange in October that Credit Bank (27) along with Bio Foods were on a path to floating their shares at the NSE. He encouraged the private sector to join the new government in working to revitalise the NSE and promised 5 to 10 public listings – and where Development Bank (29) may also feature. 

First Community Bank (26) overcame a mini-run in October and assured panicked depositors that their funds were safe.

Top 10, by assets in June 2022.

10. Bank of Kigali, which is cross-listed in Nairobi. 

9. I&M.

8. Stanbic Bank

7. Diamond Trust

6. Standard Chartered

5. Absa Bank Kenya.

4. NCBA briefly edged ahead of Co-op for 3rd in the assets race this year.

3. Co-operative Bank

2. Equity Bank have a slight edge in group assets over KCB Group (both at Kshs 1.26 trillion) after buying two banks in DRC.

1. KCB Kshs 887 billion assets and Kshs 23.8 billion profit as of June 2022 and then bought into DRC before the end of the year. 

$1 = Kshs 118 in June 2022.

President pledges NSE Revival through IPOs

President William Ruto visited the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and rang the opening bell, then listened to financial and government leaders explain the situation in the financial markets.

  • NSE Chairman, Kiprono Kittony lamented that there had been no new government listings in 13 years. This stems from challenges and long procedures in the privatization process and they have had talks with Moses Kuria, the designated Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry,.
  • James Mwangi CEO of the Equity Bank CEO said his group was the ultimate hustler fund that grew from being a Nyagatugu village mutual fund, owned by 2,500 farmers. In 2005 and 2006 it converted into a bank and listed on the NSE which enabled them to then raise $185 million (Kshs 11 billion) from Helios. Today, the original investors have seen a 159,000% return on their investment and Equity, with Kshs 1.4 trillion of assets, has the sovereign fund of Norway (Norfund) and the World Bank Group as its largest shareholders.  
  • Lengthy Privations: Engineer Kinyanjui of the PPP said privatization as currently structured has 16-17 steps and each takes 5 months. The government owns Kshs 426 billion of investments (at the NSE) and can’t sell one share without going through a privatization law process. Entities like ICDC (now under KDC) have mature investments they are ready to exit from and support the government program and the delay in privatization means that when they divest, there is an erosion of value. 
  • Pension Opportunity: Hosea Kili, the Managing Director of Laptrust said the Lamu Port, SGR and Nairobi Expressway could have been financed by the local pension industry if they had been structured for them and lamented that they are unable to deploy funds as there are no new listings. He added that Laptrust plans to list Kshs 7 billion of their Kshs 17 billion property portfolio as an I-REIT. 
  • The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) boss said that 15 million Kenyans are not in any pension schemes. At the same time the NSSF, which has shares in 29 listed companies, is 3% of the NSE, has reached the limits of what it can invest in some counters.  

After listening to leaders, President Ruto said the government would revive the capital markets by privatizing and listing 5-10 state enterprises in the next 12 months and that the government would also seek to float a domestic dollar-denominated bond.

He directed that the government review of privatization law to review sections that inhibit the process, or he would move to repeal it. He also asked private companies to step forward and list and said the government was willing to remove some impediments including forgiveness of some tax sins. 

In his closing remarks, the President: 

  • Announced that Bio Foods and Credit Bank have obtained approvals to list at the NSE.
  • Invited the pension companies to a meeting at State House a few days later. 
  • He also put a fire under the boards of Nairobi International Financial Centre and the Privatization Commission for not delivering.

Here’s a stream of the launch of the enhanced NSE Market Place event

Equity to absorb Spire Bank

Kenya’s smallest bank will wind up banking operations in a deal that transfers most of its business to Kenya’s second-largest bank, by market share.

A notice by Spire Bank states that all its depositors, except its main shareholder, will become customers of Equity Bank Kenya. Spire had 20,000 depositors, with about 3,700 loan customers and an equivalent of Kshs 1.32 billion of deposits will be transferred to Equity along with loans worth Kshs 945 million.

Equity term the transaction as “immaterial” to their group financial statements as it only adds 0.25% to their deposits now at Kshs 522.7 billion, but which will ensure that Spire customers enjoy uninterrupted banking services. Spire will pay Equity a cash amount, estimated at Kshs 468 million, to bridge the difference in the loans and the deposits transferred.

As per the agreement, Spire will cease offering bank services and deal with its creditors and staff. Spire’s parent, the Mwalimu National Sacco, has over Kshs 60 billion in assets but will walk away from the ill-advised venture into banking – that never made a profit from when it was acquired as Equatorial Commercial Bank – confident that the exit decision is in the best interests of its customers and stakeholders.

edit January 24, 2023: Through a notice by the Governor of the Central Bank (CBK), the Government has approved the deal in which Equity Bank Kenya is acquiring certain assets and liabilities of Spire Bank, effective on 31 January 2023.

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.

Equity Bank’s War Chest

Equity Bank has been on a tear, signing deals with other banks for affordable lines of credit for on-lending. The latest ones are with the African Development Bank and FMO.

The recent financing agreements include:

In 2020:

  • September 2020: $50 million (Kshs 5.5 Billion) loan facility with the IFC.
  • October 2020: $100 Million from Proparco (Agence Française de Développement Group) to enable Kenya MSMEs, women entrepreneurs who had been particularly affected by the economic shock of the COVID-19 crisis to create jobs. It is expected to impact 240 MSMEs firms which will create over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

In 2021:

  • March 4: EUR 125 million (Kshs 16.5 Billion) loan facility signed with the European Investment Bank. The long-term loan will support Equity customer to sustain and scale their operations, with Kshs 6.5 billion to agriculture and Kshs 10 billion to MSMEs.
  • March 10: $100 Million (Kshs 11 Billion) facility with DEG of Germany, CDC Group of the United Kingdom, and FMO of the Netherlands to support MSMEs cope with COVID-19 over three years.
  • March 15: USD 75 Million (Kshs 8.25 Billion) loan facility with the African Guaranty Fund to lend to women-owned and managed micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
  • March 23: $10 billion (Kshs 11 billion) from the African Development Bank to support its expansion into Central Africa. The  tier-two facility with a 7-year maturity is also to support lending to women and youth entrepreneurs access capital to recover and thrive in a post-COVID environment.
  • March 25: $50 million (KShs 5.5 billion) NASIRA loan portfolio guarantee from Netherlands FMO, covering loans provided to MSMEs affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including women and young entrepreneurs and companies in the agri-value chain.