Awards for Excellence 2009: Kenya
Best Bank: Kenya Commercial Bank
Worries are growing that Equity Bank, the bank that showed how profit could be made from collateralizing cows and by offering services to the rural poor, is overstretching itself. In an era when tourism revenues are dipping and political concerns linger, a more uncertain market is looking increasingly towards Equity Bank’s bigger, perhaps more stable rival, Kenya Commercial Bank.
KCB is not resting on its laurels. Its expansion has continued in Uganda and Tanzania; the latter is a difficult market for Kenyan banks to enter. This adds to its existing operations in Uganda and southern Sudan.
In 2008, Kenya Commercial Bank’s pre-tax profit rose 43%, with first-quarter 2009 profit up by 5%. This is small compared with Equity Bank’s pre-tax profit growth of 111% in 2008, with first-quarter 2009 pre-tax profits up 29%. But with Equity Bank’s expansion into more remote areas continuing, its operating expenses rose 120% in 2008.