NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan
banks posted flat or reduced earnings in 2016 following interest rate caps
introduced last September.
At least four
banks have announced their earnings in the last few days, with their results
highlighting how the fixing of interest rates has affected the financial
commercial banks’ lending rates last November at 4 percent above the Central
Bank Rate (CBR), which currently stands at 10 percent and further set a minimum
interest rate for deposits in interest-earning accounts.
law, lending charges stood at between 19 percent and 27 percent, with proponents
of capping then noting that banks were exploiting their customers through their
high rates to make billions of dollars in profits.
the Central Bank, the banking sector profit in 2015 stood at 1.3 billion U.S.
dollars, mainly driven by interest earnings from customers.
total commercial banks’ earnings has fallen significantly in 2016 if results of
commercial banks released in the last few days are indicative.
Commercial Bank (KCB), Barclays Bank, NIC Bank and Stanbic are among banks that
have announced their results out of the 40 in the east African nation.
country’s largest bank by assets, posted a flat net profit of 191 million
dollars in its 2016 results.
On the other
hand, NIC Bank recorded a 3.3 percent decline in earnings, driven by a 35.8
percent growth in total operating expenses which outpaced a 17.5 percent growth
in total operating revenue.
Barclays Bank and Stanbic Bank recorded 12.6 percent and 9.9 percent reduction
besides rate capping, regional expansion strategy eroded shareholders value as
the bank was affected by the ongoing political instability in South Sudan,
coupled with the devaluation of the country’s pound and hyper-inflationary
effects, which resulted in the bank subsidiary reporting a net monetary loss.
“Of the banks
that have released their financial results of 2016, all have recorded a decline
in core earnings per share, with the average decline across the banking sector
put at 5.4 percent, owing to the tough operating environment as a result of the
interest rate caps and higher loan loss provision,” Cytonn, a Nairobi-based
investment firm, noted in an analysis Monday.
But it is not
all gloom for the banks as interest capping has led to growth in loan advances
instance, had its loans and advances grow by 11.5 percent to 3.74 billion
dollars from 336 million dollars, while customer deposits grew by 5.6 percent to
4.4 billion dollars from 4.12 billion dollars leading to an increase in the loan
to deposit ratio to 86.1 percent from 81.5 percent in 2015.
On the other
hand, NIC Bank grew it loan book by 1.3 percent, Stanbic by 3.4 percent and
Barclays Bank by 15.9 percent.
“This will be
the year of reckoning for banks if their current lobbying to repeal the law on
capping interest rates would not be successful. Banks will be hit harder by the
low interest rates as this would be the first time they would fully operate in
the controlled environment,” said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in
He added that
he expected banks to continue cost reduction measures that include adoption of
digital strategies for both loan disbursement and deposit mobilization and
retrenchment of staff.