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AfricaMoney | November 6, 2016

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Mauritius: Standard Bank in Top 10 African Banks by asset growth

Mauritius: Standard Bank in Top 10 African Banks by asset growth

Standard Bank Mauritius notched fourth place among the top 10 African Banks by asset growth, observed the report by The Banker, ranking the Top 400 African Banks. (Image: Standard Bank)

In the recent ranking of Top 400 African Banks by The Banker, Standard Bank Mauritius notched fourth place among the ‘top 10 African Banks by asset growth’ with a 53.92 per cent rise, building its asset base to $2.3 billion.

The rankings by the noted London-based financial publication, which are widely hailed by the industry, also saw Nigerian banks outperforming their peers with regard to profit.

Nigerian banks find increasing mention among the top 400 lenders in Africa for the first time since the government bailed out several lenders during the global financial crisis of 2009, nationalizing as many as three.

And, the government’s help has reaped rich dividends for the banking sector. In 2012, Nigeria’s lenders made combined pre-tax profits of $499m while this year, they achieved a whopping profit figure of $3.7 billion, underscoring their robust recovery from the crisis.

Also, for the first time, two of the three institutions taken over by Nigeria have entered the rankings since they were restructured and rebranded.

Afribank, renamed Mainstreet, declared a pre-tax profit of $150 million (representing a 40% return on capital or ROC) and even Keystone, previously called Bank PHB, performed well with pre-tax earnings of $18 million.

Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith and First Bank of Nigeria also made the West African economy proud with profits before tax of more than $500 million – a first-time achievement for any Nigerian bank.

Of the top 20 African banks, while Nigeria contributed five banks again as it did last year, its banking industry as a whole is quickly expanding, pulling up the total asset base of the Nigerian banking sector from $113 in 2012 to $134 billion in 2013.

Experts have forecast that Nigeria’s banking sector might become the third largest in Africa if Nigeria overtakes Morocco’s banks which have $137 billion of assets in the 2013 ranking.

Apart from Nigeria, several other Sub-Saharan countries shone bright such as Ghana, whose banks have benefited from a high interest rate environment and huge gains in the foreign exchange market.

The 22 lenders from the West African country that made the ranking generated a huge aggregate return on assets of 4.7%, almost two percentage points above what banks in Nigeria managed and 2.8 points higher than those in South Africa.

East African banks shone once again. Of the 10 biggest in Kenya, all but Barclays Kenya, made record pre-tax profits. Kenya Commercial Bank, the largest lender in the country, increased its assets by 10% to $4.3 billion and became the first Kenyan bank to post earnings before tax of more than $200m. Only two of the 10 Ethiopian banks in the ranking made an ROC of less than 30%, while in Uganda the four largest lenders all made ROCs of more than 50%.

As for South Africa’s banks, they continue to occupy an important place in the ranking with Standard Bank realizing a profit of $3.3 billion, FirstRand with $2.1 billion profit, Barclays Africa Group $1.4 billion profit, and Nedbank $1.3 billion.

However, profit growth has the tendency to be more restrained in non-English-speaking parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the Angolan banks, the capital base of BancoAngolana de Investimentos increased to $669 million but profit decreased 7%.

Profits also went down in 2013 for the three biggest Angolan banks by assets namely Banco de Poupança e Crédito, BancoEspírito Santo Angola (BESA) and Banco de Fomento Angola.

At a pan-Africa level, Togo-based Ecobank with subsidiaries in 34 African countries performed well with an increased capital of $2 billion and a recorded net profit before tax of $348 million.

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