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Banks have become a core need in our economy. This is because they not only enable you to deposit and withdraw money but they also give you a platform to save, invest and acquire loans at reasonable rates. We have so many banks in Kenya, thanks to economic growth and development. Today, I would love to let you in on the top 10 best banks in Kenya as listed below

> KENYA COMMERCIAL BANK [KCB]

Founded in 2015, the KCB has been one of the fastest-growing licensed commercial banks in Kenya. It is currently the largest bank in Kenya in terms of asset value. It has since spread roots to Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi. Its latest feature is the KCB Mpesa which enables you to get a loan if you are a registered Safaricom user.

2. EQUITY GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED

It is one of the youngest banks of Kenya, having been founded in 2014. Equity bank, just like any other bank, offers services and products such as savings and investments, mortgages, loans as well as microfinance. It was founded in Nairobi, Kenya and later spread across Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, and DRC. Its lending rate is at 13% interest rate p.a. The introduction of the Eazzy app made it so easy for clients’ banking needs.

3. STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

It is commonly referred to as Stanchart Kenya. It is a subsidiary of the British multinational financial conglomerate. It was founded in 1910 and its headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1989, its stock was listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, offering 21 million shares to the public. Unique services include infinite debit card, exclusive globally recognized credit card, convenient digitally-enabled banking and payment services, and preferential pricing. Its latest feature, the Mobile Banking app, has made it so easy for clients since they are able to carry out transactions at the comfort of their home.

4. BARCLAYS BANK

It is owned by the Absa Group Limited. Its products include mortgages, savings, investments, loans and credit cards. It was established in 1916 and got licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya and has since become widespread in towns and cities in Kenya.

5. COOPERATIVE BANK OF KENYA

Founded in 1965, Coop bank has become one of the best performing commercial banks in Kenya. It boasts of 10.44b profit in half-year 2019.6. DIAMOND TRUST BANKIt is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network. […]

The Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) will be launched this Friday in the resort town and trading will commence the following Monday-the 26th of October 2020, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)has said.

The VFEX -a subsidiary of the ZSE will become the country’s second stock exchange after the ZSE and will be denominated in foreign currency.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube will launch the bourse.

"The Victoria Falls Stock Exchange Limited ("VFEX") is pleased to advise stakeholders that it has been granted the approval to launch and commence trading of securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ). The official opening of VFEX is scheduled for Friday 23 October 2020, at its new offices in Victoria Falls,"

"Trading, Depository services, Clearing and Settlement on VFEX will commence on Monday 26 October 2020," said ZSE.

According to the regulations, companies already listed on the ZSE with interest in the VFEX may only list up to 20 percent of their total capital on the US dollar bourse if its capital is raised offshore or from free funds.

The VFEX has registered the following as official market participants in the various categories:

Securities Dealers

 ABC Stockbrokers (Pvt) Limited

 Akribos Securities (Pvt) Limited

 Bethel Equities (Pvt) Limited EFE Securities (Pvt) Limited FBC Securities (Pvt) Limited Fincent Securities (Pvt) Limited Inter-Horizon Securities (Pvt) Limited Imara Edwards Securities (Pvt) Limited Invictus Securities Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited Lynton Edwards Stockbrokers (Pvt) Limited Mast Stockbrokers (Pvt) Limited MMC Capital (Pvt) Limited Morgan and Co (Pvt) Limited Old Mutual Securities (Pvt) Limited Platinum Securities (Pvt) Limited Remo Investment Brokers (Pvt) Limited Wealth Access Securities (Pvt) LimitedSponsors ABC Stockbrokers (Pvt) Limited Akribos Securities (Pvt) Limited Bethel Equities (Pvt) Limited EFE Securities (Pvt) Limited FBC Securities (Pvt) Limited Inter-Horizon Securities (Pvt) Limited Imara Edwards Securities (Pvt) Limited Invictus Securities Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited Lynton Edwards Stockbrokers (Pvt) Limited MMC Capital (Pvt) Limited Morgan and Co (Pvt) Limited Platinum Securities (Pvt) Limited Wealth Access Securities (Pvt) LimitedSecurities Custodians CABS Custodial Services CBZ Custodial Services FBC Custodial Services Standard Chartered Custodial Services Stanbic Investor ServicesSecurities Transfer Secretaries Corpserve Registrars (Private) Limited First Transfer Secretaries (Private) Limited ZB Transfer Secretaries (Private) LimitedNon-member Institutions ABC Asset Management Akribos Wealth Managers Datvest Asset Management First Mutual Wealth Management Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe Old Mutual Investment Group Invesci Asset Management

When the Central Bank of Kenya announced in March that lenders would offer a repayment holiday on personal and business loans distressed by the Covid-19 pandemic, there was excitement among many borrowers.

A big number were only coming to terms with sudden loss of income following tough economic shutdowns. To cushion borrowers, the banking sector regulator announced that all loans as of March 2, 2020 would be eligible for short repayment holidays or rescheduled payments of up to a year.

Among those beaming with relief at the time was 34-year-old Munyaka Njiru, who rushed to his bank to take advantage of the deal.

Mr Njiru, the proprietor of Bucketlist Adventures, a tour firm, said yesterday he saw the repayment holiday as a huge relief on his outstanding car loan. The hospitality sector was one of the hardest hit as the pandemic suspended international and local transport.

But Mr Njiru now says the relief has turned into a nightmare. He regrets that if he knew then what he knows now, he would not have signed on to the deal allowing him a break from repaying his Sh200,000 loan balance.

Demanding interest

After six months, the bank recently wrote to Mr Njiru demanding interest of upto Sh24,000 that had piled up over the repayment holiday period. "The deal with my bank would have been a huge relief for me. But it has turned into a raw deal," Mr Njiru told the Nation.

"The bank explained they had been loading up interest during the six-month period and this means I will end up paying upto Sh24,000 more," he said, expressing his disappointment with the whole State-backed relief programme. The bank has asked him to pay Sh45,000 at once, failing which the loan will be considered to have fallen into arrears.

Under CBK’s initiative, individuals and companies could take a repayment holiday, lengthen the tenure of their loans, or opt to just pay the interest for a period of time. The relief also applied to credit card debt and mortgages.

"I would not have signed up if I knew I would eventually pay more," said Mr Njiru, echoing the sentiments of many unsuspecting borrowers who aimed to take advantage of the relief programme.

Banks appear to have taken advantage of a broad guideline by the CBK, which allowed the lenders to restructure loans by either freezing interest payments, or fees, or offering a moratorium on interest or the principal repayments.Borrowers who […]

Residents of Mahiga-Meru village chase desert locusts using old aluminium cooking pots, iron sheets and twigs, in Laikipia County (file photo). Top Kenyan banks have yielded to the Covid-19 pandemic with grim prospects of weaker profitability, slowed loan book growth and a surge in the volume of bad loans, signaling reduced dividends for shareholders and reduced corporate tax to the government this year.

According to a special report by rating agency Fitch on eight banks that control 83 percent of the industry’s deposits and 76 percent of the total assets, weaker operating conditions have resulted in substantially lower earnings and profitability metrics for the lenders that have also borne the brunt of huge loan restructuring to protect borrowers whose loan repayments have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The situation has been compounded by the severe locust infestation since July 2019 which could create further pressure on the banks’ asset quality through lending to the small-scale farmers and farming communities.

Debt relief measures granted to distressed borrowers to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subdued loan growth are also expected to dampen profitability.

Fitch, through its report titled ‘Coronavirus Impact on Large Kenyan Banks’ shows that the annualised average net income to average equity ratio of these large banks declined by 730 basis points (bp) to 11.6 percent in the first six months of this year.

The report dated October 8 shows that the lenders — KCB, Equity, NCBA, Co-operative Bank, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), Absa Bank (Kenya) Standard Chartered Bank (Kenya) and Stanbic Bank (Kenya) — started the year 2020 on a weaker footing characterised by deteriorating asset quality, with an average impaired loan ratio of 11.2 percent last year compared with 9.9 percent in 2018.

KCB’s asset quality deterioration was largely driven by the consolidation of National Bank of Kenya (NBK), which pushed its impaired loan ratio upwards by 300bp to 15.4 percent in 2019.

"Risks are tilted to the downside again. The coronavirus pandemic will reverse the benefits to banks from the repeal of the interest rate cap in terms of lending growth, asset quality and earnings," said Vincent Martin, an analyst at the rating agency.

Personal lending

According to Fitch, banks with the largest exposures to personal lending are particularly exposed to higher loan impairments, with other stressed sectors including manufacturing and trade.

Based on Fitch’s estimates, the most exposed (based on 2019 figures) to personal lending among the large […]

Kenya Commercial Bank has shut down one of its main branches after a South Sudanese envoy collapsed and died.

Confirming the Thursday afternoon incident KCB, in a statement, said it had opted to close KCB Advantage center at Kencom House along Moi avenue indefinitely.

The bank revealed that it had already reported to police the matter involving 66-year-old Michael Nyang Jook, the South Sudanese ambassador to Eritrea.

"We regret to confirm that a customer at our KCB Advantage Branch, Moi Avenue, Nairobi collapsed and died this afternoon during a visit to the branch. The incident was reported to the police, and they took over the matter," the statement read in part.

According to the police report, the ambassador collapsed after complaining he was experiencing difficulty in breathing.

The incident was reported at the Central Police Station under OB/22/102020.

On the shutdown, KCB said, "We encourage our customers to visit our other Advantage Centres or use alternative banking touchpoints such as cash recyclers, ATMs, cash deposit machines, Mobi, KCB M-Pesa, Vooma and internet banking."

The KCB management also sent message of condolences to the family of the deceased.

"We condole and stand with the family during this difficult time," the statement concluded.

BoU Governor Tumusiime Mutebile Uganda can still meet its debt obligations despite continued borrowing, the Bank of Uganda (BoU) said in its latest report on the ‘State of the Economy’, which presented the global and domestic economic developments in the period to August 2020.

“Despite the increase in borrowing, Uganda’s debt levels remain sustainable with low risk of debt distress; however, significant vulnerabilities are evident,” reads the report in part.

The optimistic outlook from the central bank comes after activists and President Museveni himself has called on lenders to forgive debts to Low-Income Countries (LICs), especially after the damage caused by the Covid-19.

In September, the Uganda Debt Network (UDN) argued that canceling these debts would help countries like Uganda channel the funds spent on servicing debts to development projects.

UDN recommended that all debts lent to LICs be canceled and that these countries be given a 10-year action of no-interest on new debts.

“The two-fold approaches would consign the LICs into more public expenditure investments tagged to protecting the rights and social protection of the citizens, economic recovery, improved healthcare and others,” it said.

“Uganda Debt Network implores the IMF, WBG and G.20 (world’s richest countries) during 2020 to coordinate such a compelling broad global participation of all global actors to this two-fold approach to the revival of economies of the LICs, including Uganda.”

According to BoU, the total public debt stock stood at Shs56.53 trillion, 40.8 percent of GDP, as at the end of June 2020 which is an increase of 20.5 percent relative to June 2019.

“The increase between June 2019 and June 2020 was mainly due to a Shs6.4trn increase in external debt largely attributed to borrowings from the IMF, Trade and Development Bank (TDB), and Stanbic Bank towards countering the economic distress brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” BoU report says.

“Public external debt continued to maintain the dominant share of 66.2 percent of the total public debt. External and domestic debt increased by 18.0 percent and 19.4 percent, respectively in FY2019/20. The external position in FY 2019/20 was supported by budget support loans from the Trade and Development Bank, IMF and Stanbic Bank.”

Between January and August, Uganda acquired about 16 loans acquired to counter the effects of the pandemic and for other interventions in the economy. Those loans exclude the grants and supplementary budgets at end of FY2019/20.However, the more debts the country plunges in the harder it becomes for it to […]

Nairobi Securities Exchange. FILE PHOTO | NMG Loss-making firms have dominated the top 10 list of stocks on the Nairobi Securities Exchange #ticker:NSE (NSE) that recorded price gains since the start of the year despite Covid-19-related economic disruptions.

A review shows that stocks of firms such as Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, Uchumi Supermarkets #ticker:UCHUM, Sameer Africa #ticker:FIRE, and East African Portland Cement #ticker:EAPCC (EAPCC) registered substantive price gains between January and September.

This is in contrast to the bourse’s overall bearish run which saw the NSE-20 share index that tracks the price movements of select 20 stocks dip by 802.2 points to 1,852.19 points last month.

The NSE-25 share which tracks the price movement of select 25 stocks also shed 841.79 points to end last month at 3,258.78 points.

KQ shares, for example, rallied by 83.25 percent to Sh83.25 percent before it was suspended from trading in July to pave the way for the government buyout process. The rally was despite the airline posting a 67.3 percent jump in loss to Sh14.33 billion, extending the streak of losses that started in 2013.

The review period also saw shares of Sameer Africa, which last returned a profit in 2013, rise by 11.59 percent to Sh3.85.

Shares of loss-making and debt-ridden Uchumi and EAPCC increased by 3.45 percent and 2.41 percent during the period—a trend analysts linked to speculative local retail investors who are after short-term gains.

“Most of these small stocks do not trade based on fundamentals. It is usually more of speculative activities and even the volumes backing those gains are usually small,” said Gerald Muriuki, a research analyst at Genghis Capital.

“For instance, when the government announced that it was moving in to nationalise KQ, most retail investors rushed in to buy so that they can profit from that buyout.”

Also in the list of gainers are stocks of small firms such as Olympia Capital (4.48 percent) and agricultural stocks—Eaagads (30.2 percent), Sasini (23.84 percent), Kakuzi (13.24 percent) and Kapchorua Tea (1.88 percent).

“Gains in agricultural stocks have been supported by the decision to maintain dividends despite their performance not having been strong,” said Mr Muriuki. The gains in loss-making and small firms are in contrast with the performance of the five biggest stocks which account for 76 percent of all the investors’ wealth at the NSE.The top five stocks—Safaricom #ticker:SCOM, Equity #ticker:EQTY, EABL #ticker:EABL, KCB #ticker:KCB and Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP —dropped by 5.11 percent, 32.35 percent, 13.65 percent, […]

Mobile money has changed the financial landscape in the country since its introduction in 2009 and is as well approving a reality of a cashless society. (Photo : Next Billion) In a joint statement released today, telecommunication firms MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda have reinstated mobile money services and now their customers can send and receive money across both networks.

In the statement, Wim Vanhelleputte, Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda and VG Somasekhar, Managing Director Airtel Uganda said, “We apologize to all customers for any inconvenience this may have caused and reiterate our commitment to delivering secure and seamless mobile money services.”

This comes after the two firms along with Stanbic Bank Uganda temporarily suspended bank to mobile money services following a third party service provider experiencing a system incident on October 6th, 2020 and this had impacted Bank to Mobile Money transactions. This saw the companies lose billions of money to the hackers, who were late according to some reports, two suspects were caught by the police.

Notably, it is worth mention that the MTN, Airtel, and Stanbic said that none of their customers accounts were affected.

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MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda have announced the restoration of mobile money services between the two networks. A joint statement by Wim Vanhelleputte, the CEO of MTN Uganda, and VG Somasekhar, the MD of Airtel Uganda, said customers can now send and receive money across both networks.

The announcement follows a money heist that was discovered before 03 October. The operators, together with Stanbic Bank and Bank of Africa, announced that a third-party system breach caused problems for customers looking to perform transfers from their bank accounts to their respective mobile money wallets.

The operators apologised to all customers for any inconvenience and reiterated their commitment to delivering secure and seamless mobile money services.

The latest woes of the National Oil Corporation (Nock) may have come as a shock for a State parastatal with all the instruments to make money in a prolific market where demand beats headwinds including the latest Covid -19 pandemic.

For a company that has had several regulatory ‘through passes’ from the government, Nock, as it is commonly known in the market, has failed to score and now the company is sinking according to its leaders.

Its current provisional loss for the year to June 2020 has deepened to Sh1.3 billion (from Sh0.3 billion the previous year), its chocking from loans, shareholder equity has diluted by Sh1.34 billion to a mere Sh0.28 billion in one year and owes suppliers Sh628 million.

Kenya Commercial Bank is already trailing its assets for auction over a Sh3.8 billion debt and that is not all; debt to banks total Sh5.2 billion in what the company chief executive officer Gideon Leparan now calls ‘a real threat.’

"The bank issued a demand for full settlement of the loans in 30 days, failure to which they will institute recovery measures. This is a real threat and should nothing be done by the shareholder, then Nock may be wound up," told the Senate Standing Committee in Energy while appearing before it.

Sh8 billion

KCB had commissioned a business review on Nock earlier in the year and found the corporation on a death bed, and the medicine was costly. It needed Sh8 billion to breathe or Sh500 working capital injected monthly for 16 months. Nock claims the findings were never shared with it, its parent ministry or Treasury.

While it may be easy to ignore the collapse of Nock just like any other State entity trying its hand in the highly competitive sector where private sector players never sleep, fuel business and the silver spoon with which NOC has been fed shocked the sector on just how it got chocked.

The company, which was set up to become a special instrument for the Government of Kenya to have greater control of the petroleum sector, has had its fair share of favours from the State.

Before importation of fuel was allotted to other players through the Open Tender System, Nock had the preserve to ship in 30 per cent into the market. The favour that was officially lifted in October 1994 continued for two more decades, sparking outcry from other players.

A directive issued on April 30, […]