By Johnstone Ole Turana, Business Daily Africa –
Standard Chartered Bank has been declared the best bank in Kenya in Banking Survey 2010, dislodging Equity which emerged the winner last year.
Barclays Bank maintained its second position with Equity Bank dropping to position three.
“Our aim is to encourage prudence and stability in the banking sector by recognising, awarding and celebrating exemplary performers and successes of the sector, consequently encouraging competition,” said Wilfred Nyangena, the chief judge.
The awards are won on a combination of merits, including financial soundness, opinion polls, market research and professional assessments.
Standard Chartered Bank was the only bank to post a double digit growth in a soft economy where banks took a hard knock on the back of subdued consumer demand for credit.
Similarly, banks had to pay higher interest rates to attract deposits, which raised their operating costs.
Bank of Baroda was declared the Best Bank in Tier II, a category for banks with total assets between Sh10 billion and Sh40 billion. In second place was Bank of India while Family Bank was third.
The strategic decision by StanChart not to join the rush for retail expansion to net more customers, choosing instead to focus on its core market, paid off with the bank recording a 43 per cent pre-tax profit growth of Sh6.7 billion from Sh4.7 billion in 2008.
“Our sterling growth confirms our business strategy of focusing on key market segment, engaging in prudent expansion and leveraging on our information technology to drive business growth”, said Richard Etemesi the bank chief executive officer while releasing the results.
For other banks the growth was largely subdued with Barclays Bank reporting a four per cent growth while Equity Bank recorded a seven per cent growth.
With the economy on a recovery path, commercial banks are returning back to the profit making territory.
The latest results for the first quarter shows that banks are turning over the leaf and are expected to post healthy returns this year.
The Banking Survey, which has different categories, recognised other achievers in the various categories.
Equity Bank was voted the best microfinance bank, KCB Bank won in the retail banking category while Barclays Bank was declared the best bank for corporate banking.
Other winners were CFC Stanbic Bank for the investment banking award, KCB Bank scooped the best bank in mortgage finance and Chase Bank was voted the fastest growing bank.
Early this year, KCB absorbed its mortgage subsidiary Savings and Loan into the mainstream allowing it to leverage on its huge balance sheet to grow its mortgage portfolio.
During the ceremony, Rueben Marambii, the managing director of National Bank of Kenya (NBK), was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his 37 years of service.
Mr Marambii has been instrumental in turning around NBK from a loss making institution to profit making bank.
Other individual feted were Alfetta Koome of CFC Stanbic Bank as the investment banker of the year and Nick Mbuvi of Barclays Bank – corporate banker award.