Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Coop) had its 8th AGM (since listing) on Friday 27th May, at Bomas, in Nairobi. At the end of 2015, Kenya’s 3rd largest bank had 342 billion in assets, and profits of Ksh 15 billion. It had Kshs 208 billion in loans and Kshs 265 billion in deposits. The CEO also mentioned that Q1 profit in 2016 was almost Kshs 5 billion and they hoped to attain Kshs 20 billion by the end of 2016.
- Soaring Eagle: The CEO gave an update of the ongoing transformation project that seeks to improve Co-op’s efficiency and services to the 5.9 million customers of the Bank. Now, only 25% transactions are done at branches, as customers have the choice to use other channels like mobile phones, ATM,s internet, or bank agents. Internally, staff are tasked to cross sell bank products & open accounts, and they receive promotions, bonuses, and increments based on KPI’s and appraisals. They consulted with McKinsey for some of this.
- Regional Expansion / Subsidiaries & Associates: They own 60% of Kingdom Securities (stockbrokers), and in South Sudan they own 51% of Coop Bank there, with the government of South Sudan owning the other 49%. The bank went from a loss of Kshs 687 million to a pre tax profit of Kshs 850 million, and the CEO said that Sudanese see the bank as their own, as they have a stake a board and management are local. They plan to use the same joint venture approach to take Coop Bank to Ethiopia, another large closed banking market. They also own 100% of Co-op Consultancy and Co-op Trust Investment Services, 35% of Cooperative insurance (parent of the listed CIC insurance) and 31% of CIC South Sudan.
- Shareholders: The bank has almost 96,000 shareholders who will each receive Kshs 0.8 per share in dividend – and this will total Kshs 3.9 billion in 2015 (up from 2.4 billion). The bank Chairman said that they had to maintain a balance with the dividends paid out so that they they did not have to call on shareholders to put money back in to the bank as it grows. Coop shares were issued after a 2008 IPO at Kshs 9.5, and now trade at 18.3. They have also issued bonus shares (twice?).
Elections: During the shareholder election, the CEO explained two unique points. One was that Coop Holdings which owns 65% of the bank, had already had its AGM and nominate 7 directors (that they are entitled to) and merely forwards the names to the Bank for endorsement at the AGM. Second was that the CMA now requires that companies make shareholders aware that they have audit committees, and to have shareholders vote for the members of the audit committee at the AGM.
- One Shareholder asks about the cost of banking saying that If he deposits Kshs 100 at an agent, Kshs 20 is cut, and there’s another Kshs 50 for each of his ATM withdrawals. The CEO they share these fees with the agents who have to pay for costs like electricity or to run their kiosks. Another one asked that Coop asked the bank to open more agent locations (now at 8,765) to serve other parts of the country.
- Insider Lending at Coop? The CEO assured that all loans taken by directors (total about Kshs 300 million) and employees (about 6.5 billion) are being serviced properly, and that they are known to, and approved by the board. Insider lending had brought down other banks in Kenya, but, he said, this was not an issue at Coop.
- Legal cases? All banks have legal cases, and they highlighted the main ones in the annual report.