Equity Bank makes to top 10 best lenders in Africa

This is the first time Kenyan lender is appearing in the top 10 list in a decade.

In Summary
  • The lender was ranked position 52 and 54 in 2018 and last year respectively
  • Egyptian lenders dominated the top 10 list
Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi
Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi
Image: FILE

A Kenya bank has appeared in the top 10 list of best lenders in Africa for the first time in the series ranking, demonstrating the growth of the country's banking sector. 

The Equity Bank Group ranks number seven in the 2020 ranking by The Banker, a global financial intelligence firm, scoring 5.82 out of possible 10 in the overall category of the best performing banks in the region. 

This is the first time the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)listed lender which had a balance sheet size of Sh673.7 billion at the end of 2019 is appearing in the top category after ranking a distant 52 and 54 in 2018 and last year respectively.

Even so, the top 10 list was dominated by Egyptian lenders which relegated their South African peers. 

Commercial International Bank of Egypt was ranked as the best overall lender in 2020 with 6.99 points followed by Guaranty Trust Bank from Nigeria.

Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire came both from Egypt came in at positions three and four. Others are Zenith Bank (Nigeria), Africa Export-Import Bank (Egypt) National Bank of Egypt and Mauritius Commercial Bank Group. 

Only Capitec Bank Holdings from South Africa appeared on the list at position 10 with an overall score of 5.66 points. 

According to The Banker, this year’s ranking shows stabilisation in the finances of the majority of African major lenders.

lenders were ranked based on an array of metrics including the overall growth performance, financial soundness, profits on capital, leverage and return on risk.

Equity Bank registered improved performance during the year under review, posting a 14 per cent profit after tax growth to Sh22.6 billion from Sh19.8 billion in 2018.


The enhanced efficiency and cost optimization saw its cost-income ratio improving to 51 per cent from 52.4 per cent in 2018. It also maintained its yield on interest-earning assets at 11.2 per cent.

This saw the lender ranked position five in the continent in terms of financial soundness and position six in profitability. 

Commenting on the ranking, Equity Bank Group MD James Mwangi said the ranking is an indication that the bank remains robust, despite the challenging operating environment. 

''The Bank has already developed and adopted a sustainable business model to cushion the business as well as boost value creation for shareholders,'' Mwangi said. 

Other Kenyan bank which excelled in the ranking includes KCB Group which came third in terms of growth, position nine in profitability and position eight in operational efficiency. 

KCB Group also trounced Equity Bank in terms of liquidity, scoring 5.88 points to appear position 10. 

The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2020 ranked Equity Bank 754 overall in its global ranking, 62 in soundness (Capital Assets to Assets ratio), 55th in terms of Profits on Capital and 20th on Return on Assets.