Cytonn Investments has released its 2018 quarter one Banking Sector Report, which ranks KCB Group as the most attractive bank in Kenya, a position it has retained since 2015, supported by a strong franchise value and intrinsic value score.
The franchise score measures the broad and comprehensive business strength of a bank across 13 different metrics, while the intrinsic score measures the investment return potential. National Bank of Kenya ranked lowest overall, ranking last in the intrinsic value score.
“The Kenyan banking sector has witnessed a challenging operating environment, following the capping of interest rates, coupled with tighter regulation. The report, themed ‘Diversification and efficiency key to growth amidst tighter regulation. Asset quality remains a concern’ ,analyzed the results of the listed banks using their Quarter 1 2018 audited results so as to determine which banks are the most attractive and stable for investment from a franchise value and from a future growth opportunity perspective,” said Maurice Oduor, Cytonn’s Senior Investments Manager.
“Banks will continue to put more emphasis on alternative revenue streams to boost their Non-Funded Income and adopt an efficient operating model through alternative banking channels and digitization in order to remain profitable under the tough operating environment”, added Maurice. “We have looked at three key focus areas, which are regulation, diversification and asset quality in this report. With a tighter regulated environment following the capping of interest rates and adoption of IFRS 9, revenue sources diversification and asset quality management will prove to be the key growth drivers in the banking sector.”
“We expect the relatively challenging operating environment for the banking sector to persist in 2018, especially with the coming into effect of IFRS 9, which takes a forward-looking approach to credit assessment, which will likely reduce capital positions for banks with poor asset quality as they have to set aside provisions for both the performing and non-performing loans. This will likely impact negatively these banks’ earnings.” said Caleb Mugendi, Senior Investment Analyst at Cytonn Investments. “With the deteriorating asset quality, evidenced by the rising non-performing loans, we expect banks to be more prudent in loan disbursement, and consequently tightening their credit standards, in order to address the concerns around asset quality and enhance cost rationalization measures, in a bid to protect their profitability. We have seen banks adjusting their business models with lending skewed mainly towards collateralized lending,” added Caleb.
KCB Group ranked first position on the back of a high return on average equity of 20.3% compared to an industry average of 18.4%, as well as an optimal loan to deposit ratio of 84.3%, compared to an industry average of 76.8%.
Equity Group ranked second, recording the highest return on equity at 24.7% and had the best asset quality, with the lowest Non-Performing Loans ratio of 6.5% compared to the industry average at 9.5%. Equity Bank’s ranking was largely pulled back by its expensive market valuation of 2.5 times, compared to an industry average of 1.6x or KCB Group’s 1.5 times.
Diamond Trust Bank climbed 3 spots to Position 4 from Position 7 in the 2017 financial year Banking Sector Report, owing to its good asset quality, with the bank having the second lowest gross Non Performing Loans ratio at 7.1%, lower than industry average of 9.5%, and good corporate governance structure, ranking second in the Cytonn Corporate Governance Index (CGI).
Kenya’s listed banks recorded a 14.4% growth in core EPS growth in Q1’2018, compared to a decline of 8.6% in Q1’2017, and a 5-year average growth of 6.7%. Only Standard Chartered Bank and Housing Finance Group recorded declines in core EPS, registering declines of 12.5% and 58.4%, respectively. Deposits grew at 9.4% year on year, a faster rate than loans, which grew by 3.2%.
The loan growth came in lower as private sector credit growth remained low at an average of 2.4%, below the five-year average of 14.0%, with banks adopting a more prudent credit risk assessment framework to ensure quality loan books so as to manage the rising non-performing loans.