KCB, Equity Bank (Kenya) and Co-operative Bank of Kenya have stronger cost-to-income ratios than their Nigerian counterparts, despite their higher retail overhead costs, according to rating agency Moody’s Investors Service.
In a peer comparison report, Moody’s says Kenyan banks’ lower cost-to-income ratios primarily reflect their higher net interest margins derived from their greater exposure to retail clients.
By contrast, Nigerian banks’ – Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc- lending is focused on lower-margin corporate clients. Additionally, funding cost for Kenyan banks stood 100 basis points lower over the same period, reflecting their wider access to retail deposits.
“Over the coming quarters, we expect Kenyan banks to maintain superior profitability to their Nigerian peers, owing to higher margins, stronger cost-to-income and lower loan-loss provisioning costs,” said Peter Mushangwe, a Moody’s Analyst and the report’s co-author.
Kenyan banks will continue to benefit from their higher NIMs because the recent removal of interest rate caps will support loan yields. However, Nigerian banks’ cost-to-income ratios will likely improve faster as they increase their higher-margin retail exposure while containing costs as they digitalise their operations and limit branch and staff expansion.