The banking industry in Kenya has seen tremendous growth since independence, and some household names can be mentioned in the industry. Due to economic setbacks, some banks have been closed.
Kenya has 44 banks. Thirty-one are locally owned, while 13 belong to foreigners. 27 of the 31 are commercial banks, while three banks have the government of Kenya as a major shareholder and one mortgage finance institution.
We’ve therefore listed some commercial banks in Kenya describing how they’ve been performing, including their awards.
Banks can be classified in different ways:
1. By ownership- By ownership banks are either locally owned banks or foreign-owned banks
2. Nature– when classifying by nature, banks can either be classified as microfinance or commercial banks.
Commercial Banks in Kenya
The Central Bank of Kenya further classifies banks as either Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3. Tier 1 banks are large banks that control assets worth billions and don’t show signs of collapsing financially. Tier 2 are middle-sized banks, while Tier 3 are small banks.
Here is a list of commercial banks in Kenya:
1. Kenya Commercial Bank
KCB Group Limited is the leading commercial bank in the country in terms of financial service provision. But that is not all, it is one of the most profitable companies in Kenya today. It operates within various administration centers both locally and outside the country.
Ranked the best bank in Kenya in 2016, KCB received an international rating of B1 and B+ from Moody’s and S&P ratings agencies respectively. The government of Kenya is the major shareholder in KCB, which has extended its operations in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
KCB was awarded the best bank in Kenya and the best in Africa in corporate and social responsibility in 2017 Euromoney for Excellence. This is after the bank launched 2jiajiri program aiming to reduce youth unemployment in the country.
In 2019, KCB profit rose by 11% to 5.8 billion in the first quarter of the year.
2. Equity Bank Kenya Limited
Being Tier 1 bank with assets worth $3.21 million ( 284.37) billion, Equity was ranked 35’th most solid bank in the world in 2018, 11’th on return on asset, 44’th profit on capital and 35’th on soundness as realized by the Banker Magazine.
It bagged 18 awards in the 2019 Think Business Awards after emerging as the best bank of the year. The most customer-centric bank, Best bank in CSR, Best banking in Agency, Best Bank in Agriculture and Livestock financing, Best Bank in Microfinance, Best Tier 1 and Best Bank with the lowest charges for the individual.
Also in the awards, Equity was awarded the 2’nd Best in Trade Financing, 3’rd Best Bank in Corporate Bank and runners up in best Retail Banks.
It remained the second most profitable lender. In 2018, the bank holdings of government securities rose from 128 billion to 161 billion, making it a 26% increase.
Equity bank recorded a 5% increase after making a profit of 19.8 billion during the prior financial period.
3. Cooperative Bank of Kenya
Established in 1965 as a cooperative society, Co-operative Bank has total assets of US$ 3.9 million (Ksh 404.15 billion) and acquired a market share index of 9.93% in 2017 coming second behind KCB.
It recorded a before-tax profit of Ksh 14.65 billion in 2018 compared to Ksh 13.74 billion the previous year, making it a 7% growth.
In 2011, Co-op bank was awarded as Best company in Corporate Governance.
The co-operative bank was ranked first in the most Green Bank in 2013 and named bank of the year by the Financial Times of London in 2011. In 2014, the bank was awarded as the Best Bank in Retail Banking and Best Bank in microfinance in East African Banking Awards.
In 2014, the bank won the VISA co-brand champion Award. It won Best Innovation in Retail Banking in the same year as it showed consistency in providing retail banking services.
4. Barclays Bank
As a branch of Absa Group Limited of South Africa, Barclays Bank had a total asset of US$ 73.98 million ( KES 7.399 billion) as at 2016.
It was ranked the 5’th largest bank in 2014 recording a market share index of 6.57%.
It was named best lender in Asset financing and emerged 2’nd in the corporate bank of the year in the 2019 Think Business Awards. Barclays won as the best bank in 2016 Financial Reporting Awards.
Barclays Bank launched Timiza a platform which offers financial services such as loans and insurance. Timiza experienced significant growth in 2019 compared to 2018. It offered loans worth 10 billion in 2019 compared to 5.8 billion in quarter three of 2018.
The bank was ranked as the Best Bank in Finance in The Think Business Awards 2019 and runners up in Best Bank in Corporate Banking.
5. Standard Chartered
Sometimes known as Stanchart, Standard Chartered Bank is a subsidiary of British’s Standard Chartered based in London, United Kingdom.
Tier 1 ranked, Stanchart recorded a total asset of US$ 2.539 billion(KES 220.39 billion) as at December 2013. The bank has 36 branches in the country.
Stanchart became the first bank to be awarded the 9002 certification in technology systems. It is generally considered the best digital bank in Kenya.
It has received several recognitions being best global consumer mobile banking in the Global Finance Awards 2016, best global consumer mobile banking App in the Global Finance Awards 2016 and The Best Information Security Initiative in the 2016 Global Finance Awards.
Stanchart was ranked third in the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) in customers services. The bank saw a 30% increase in half-year profit in 2018. The Standard chartered bank was the second best with the lowest charge for Individual in 2019 Think Business Banking Awards.
6. Stanbic Bank
Formerly known as CFC Stanbic Holdings Limited, Stanbic bank is a member of the Standard Bank Group based in South Africa. With total assets of Ksh 180.51 billion as of 2013.
It has also extended its operations in some of East Africa countries including South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. It has shareholder’s equity valued at US$ 319.696 million (Ksh 32.43 billion).
CFC bank merged with Stanbic Bank in November 2007 making it the largest banking merger in Kenya.
It was ranked as one of the safest banks by Global Finance, making it the only bank from Kenya to be recognized.
Stanbic Bank was named the best private bank in Kenya in 2017 in the Banker’s & Professional Wealth Management Global Private Banking Awards.
The bank has over 20 branches and 30 ATMs spread across the country. It recorded a 19.3% increase in net earnings in the 1’st quarter of 2018 standing at 2.2 billion from 1.9 billion the previous year.
In 2018, Stanbic bank was named the best investment bank in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in the EMEA
7. Diamond Trust Bank
Diamond Trust Bank Group has over 130 branches in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. In 2015 DTB recorded a total asset of US$ 1.924 million (KES 166.52 billion) and was ranked as the best lending institution.
Also in 2015, DTB was awarded as the best bank in Tier 2 and was assigned a credit rating of A+ and A1 in long- term and short- term.
In 2019, DTB was recognized in several awards:
- Best Bank in product innovation
- 2’nd best bank in Agency Banking
- Best Bank in retail banking
- 2’nd Best Bank in Asset Finance
- 2’nd Best customer-centric bank
- 2’nd Best Bank in SME Bank
Other commercial banks in Kenya
- Family Bank
- Guardian Bank
- ABC Bank (Kenya)
- Bank of Africa
- Credit Bank
- Bank of Baroda
- Bank of India
- Chase Bank Kenya
- Commercial Bank of Africa
- Cooperative Bank of Kenya
- Development Bank of Kenya
- Dubai Islamic Bank
- Ecobank Kenya
- Family Bank
- First Community Bank
- Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya
- Gulf African Bank
- Habib Bank AG Zurich
- Housing Finance Company of Kenya
- I&M Bank
- Consolidated Bank of Kenya
- Imperial Bank Kenya
- Victoria Commercial Bank
- National Bank of Kenya
- NIC Bank
- Oriental Commercial Bank
- Paramount Universal Bank
- Prime Bank Kenya.
- SBM Bank Kenya Limited
- Sidian Bank
- Spire Bank.
- Mayfair Bank.
- Jamii Bora Bank
- Trans National Bank Kenya
- United Bank for Africa
- Middle East Bank of Kenya
Despite the vast growth, the banking sector is under scrutiny after the closing down of some banks due to financial crisis. The cases of Chase bank and Imperial bank led to the questioning of the banking industry stability.
More alarming is the ” high risk” rating by S&P rating agencies in which Kenya banking is ranked. Banks might be heading to zero growth rate in 2019 if the low growth rate persists.