4 Best Corporate Banks in Kenya

A look at Kenya's top four corporate banks
A look at Kenya's top four corporate banks

Corporate banking is among the key services offered by banks and other financial institutions. Its principal role is to help businesses and enterprises to grow over time. A company can start or expand its operation by advancing the necessary credit, which may be in the form of a loan, credit line, startup, or investor funding. 

Other than just providing cash or money, corporate banking also includes cash management, financial advice, trade finance, credit, equipment lending, and much more. The general awareness and acceptance of banking services have led to many financial institutions in Kenya. According to data, as of 2021, there were 43 banks in Kenya. 28 are local or domestic, while 14 are foreign-owned. The following are some of the best corporate banks in Kenya:

1. Equity Bank

Equity Bank branch.

Equity Bank is, without a doubt, one of the most recognized banks in Kenya when it comes to corporate banking. Its portfolio has an asset worth of USD 11.2 billion (Kshs 1.12 trillion) and a market capitalization of about USD billion. The number of customers is over 15 million and boasts more than 337 branches. 

It started from a humble beginning as a cooperative society (Equity Building Society) way bank in October 1984. Over time, it has grown and become a regional leader and present in many countries. These include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC (the democratic republic of Congo), and South Sudan. 

Under the leadership of Dr. James Mwangi, it has continued to experience growth in many sectors. One of the bank’s strongest points is corporate banking, which offers a wide range of services. These include investment banking, corporate banking, trade finance, treasury, fixed asset financing, and much more. 

The IFC (International Finance Corporation) recently acquired an additional stake in the bank’s shareholding worth Kes 12.2 billion. This aims at increasing the funding that’s offered to businesses. Besides its good corporate banking sector, the bank also has a good reputation for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Under the Wings to Fly program, it provides scholarships to bright and needy students.

2. KCB Bank

Talk about corporate banking, and one name comes to mind, KCB. Originally known as The Kenya Commercial Bank, this financial institution is among the country’s leading and most trusted financial institutions. Looking at its history, the bank started in 1896 and is one of the oldest financial institutions in the country. 

It has morphed over time and now ranks among the top corporate banks in Kenya. Headed by CEO Joshua Oigara, the bank ranks amongst the top 3 banks in the country. It has many branches that are spread out in the country and beyond. It’s available in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Burundi. The latest data shows that it’s worth KES 898.6 Billion( US$8.87 billion) and has a customer base of 26.8 million.

Like other leading financial service providers, KCB is continually innovating to keep up with changing needs and address customer needs. Notable technological advances are KCB Mpesa and Fuliza, which allow mobile phone owners to access cash right from wherever they are. 

You don’t need to visit a branch near you or fill the paperwork. The credit appraisal is simple and also instant. This service has made it possible even for small businesses to grow and support more than 640,000 subscribers. In 2021, the bank won the accolade as one of the safest banks in Kenya and beyond its borders.

3. Cooperative Bank

Co-operative Bank headquarters.

The Cooperative bank is a leading corporate facility provider and among the top banks in Kenya. It has a broad client base of over 7.5 million and holds the second position regarding the number of customers. The financial institution was founded in 1965 and has a total asset worth of 3.9 billion USD/ KES 552.15 billion. 

Its revenue stands at 100 million USD (KES 10.31 billion) and has more than 355 branches. Market statistics show that it accounts for approximately 8% of total bank assets in Kenya. Like other top financial institutions, it does offer many banking services. These include loans, treasury services, savings, deposit taking, debit cards, investment banking, and checking. However, its corporate sector has been on the increase. 

This is attributed to its good leadership under its CEO Gideon Muriuki who was named the best  Chief executive Officer in Kenya in 2021 by EMEA Finance. The bank/institution has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and has more than 155 branches operational in Kenya and South Sudan. 

In 2021, Co-op bank made a half-year profit of KES 7 billion and was among the most profitable financial institution. Reasons contributing to the banks’ good reputation in corporate finance include a significant capital and asset base, open-door policy for its customers, range of credit services, and exemplary client/customer support network.

4. NCBA Bank

We can’t conclude the best corporate banks in Kenya review without mentioning NCBA. This institution came about from the merger of 2 banks, CBA and NIC. 

Both were among the top 10 financial intuitions with a significant asset and a customer base. This meant that the newly formed bank became even more prominent. 

Both banks have a strong standing and have been in the market for many years. CBA was started in 1962, while NIC began in 1959. It operates in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ivory Coast. Data indicates that the current asset base is worth US$4.43 billion (Kes 464.89 billion) while the customer base is 50 million. 

Before the merger, CBA was known for its corporate banking sector, while NIC was leading in asset finance. The union led to better growth, as indicated by its profit in 2021 that stood at kes 11.1 billion. Compared to other service providers, NCBA offers some of the most competitive rates. 

Also, it offers more products and is constantly innovating. A good example is Mshwari and Fuliza, which seek to extend funding to mobile owners. Fuliza has about 1.7 million daily users who borrow about Sh1.3billion daily, while Mshwari deposits or savings account for Ksh 571.1 billion.  

Conclusion

Any prospective or potential investor seeks to collaborate or work with a leading bank. It should have a good reputation, proving that it has the customer /client in mind. The financial intuitional has a good asset and deposit portfolio to offer good credit.  Also, the right service provider will have competitive rates that are pocket-friendly to a borrower and boost growth and development. Other reasons that contribute to the above institutions being the best corporate banks in Kenya include a wide array of financial services, broad regional coverage, flexible investment options, and straightforward appraisal and approval processes.

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