[Kenya] KCB poised for stronger and sustainable growth, Global Credit Rating Co
Kenya Commercial Bank Kenya is poised to weather an increasingly challenging environment, riding an established domestic market position and sound liquidity position Global Credit Rating Co. (GCR) has said.
In its latest assessment of KCB Bank Kenya, the South African based agency has affirmed the lender’s long-term and short-term national scale ratings of AA(KE) and A1+(KE) respectively; with the outlook accorded as Stable—currently the highest for a Kenyan bank accorded by GCR.
The rating agency said on Friday that the Bank is well structured, governed and capitalized to play a stronger role in East Africa’s economic transformation, citing KCB’s resilient earnings performance. The Bank has consistently retained this rating since it was initially assigned in June 2013.
KCB Group CEO and MD, Joshua Oigara, said the affirmed rating reflected the Bank’s continued pursuit for a sustainable business model and excellent customer experience, as it readies itself to deepen its catalytic role to drive expansion in the East African region and beyond.
“This is a signal that the operational excellence that we have been instituting at the bank as well as robust structures and systems we have in place are paying off. The banking sector continues to undergo numerous challenges and as a Bank, our continuous innovation and customer centric orientation ensures that we remain focused on acting as an enabler for progress to our customers. That is what drives us to excellence,” said Mr Oigara.
GCR said KCB’s rating could improve further citing: “Improved asset quality trends driven by low credit losses and sound underwriting, and steady operating (capital, liquidity and earnings) metrics given the increasingly challenging operating environment, would further strengthen KCB’s financial profile.”
The Rating Agency notes that the fact that the Bank is “predominantly funded by customer deposits, drawing on its ability to attract deposits, supported by an extensive branch network and alternative delivery channels, to fund its operations” was a big plus in the strong rating. KCB reported a pre-tax profit of Ksh28.5 billion for Full Year 2016 supported by loan book expansion, reduced funding costs, growth in fee and commission income, and gains from the sale of available-for-sale securities. The bank maintained an average net liquid asset to customer deposits ratio of 32.1% during Full Year 2016 which was well above the minimum regulatory requirement of 20%.
Mr Oigara said the Bank has over the last three years followed a strategy which departs from the traditional bricks and mortar banking channels to non-branch channels, particularly digital platforms, including agent banking, internet and mobile banking, KCB-MPESA and cards, given customers’ demand for convenient and cost-effective service.
“We have embraced the future since we appreciate that in this day and age, we have to be alive to the increasing demand for world class services from our clients. That is the strategy that has pushed us ahead of the curve,” said Mr Oigara.
The Bank’s strategy focuses on growing digital banking, enhancing customer experience, achieving stronger international business performance, growing non-interest revenue, implementing robust and best in class information technology and network spread.
“We also continue to manage emerging risks in a difficult environment, championing sustainable business priorities as well as forming strategic partnerships to deliver mutually beneficial products and services for customers,” Oigara said.