In October 2022, NCBA Bank celebrated three years of operation following the successful merger of NIC Group PLC and Commercial Bank of Africa Limited.
Regarded as one of the most tactful and prolific corporate mergers in Kenya’s banking sector history, the deal brought together two banking powerhouses with deep Kenyan roots and a strong regional presence under the NCBA banking brand.
Subsequent to its onset, NCBA Bank has expertly navigated a complex business reorganisation, undertaken a full-scale rebrand and shown impeccable market leadership in customer experience, product innovations and financial performance. The Group has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ivory Coast.
NCBA is among the top five lenders by financial muscle in a market with more than 40 licensed commercial banks.
Through digital channels such as M-Shwari, operated in collaboration with Safaricom, the Group continues to create a competitive edge for itself, under the able leadership of Isaac Awuondo as Chairman and John Gachora as MD/CEO.
By the end of Q3 2022, NCBA had disbursed a stupendous Sh 521 billion in digital loans, a 23 percent increase year on year in line with its digitisation agenda and its commitment to supporting small businesses and individual customers, excellently settling in with the policy direction set by the current administration on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the focus at the bottom of the pyramid in tandem with Kenya’s current bottom-up economic model.
For the first nine months of 2022, NCBA’s profits rose by 96 per cent to Sh12.8 billion compared to Sh 6.5 billion in the same period of 2021. The lender has turned out as the high performing bank it was envisioned to be when the idea to merge was mooted by the boards of the two legacy banks back in December 2018.
Growth remains firmly on the agenda for NCBA. One initiative that has shaped the bank’s journey is ambitious branch expansion, aimed at complementing the strong and fast-growing digital channels. In total, the Group has opened more than 26 new branches in the region since the merger, with several more scheduled to happen this year.
In line with growth efforts, NCBA is taking strategic steps to maintain an edge in asset finance, where the bank is the undisputed market leader with a long track record of helping individuals and enterprises acquire the assets they need to advance to the next level.
The lender recently rolled out a 15-second pre-conditional approval feature on asset finance through which customers are able to get indicative approvals within 15 seconds of completing an online application, a first in the sector. The program has seen a strong uptake, with more than Sh 2.5 billion having been approved through this channel.
NCBA ended Q3 2022 with a rise in asset base to Sh 595 billion, six per cent up year on year, with customer deposits closing the 2022 Q3 at Sh 462 billion, three per cent up year on year.
The Group has built an enviable and esteemed brand within a very short span of time. In 2022, the bank was honoured as the Best Banking Group and the Best Commercial Bank in Kenya at the prestigious International Banker Awards.
A deliberately customer-obsessed banking institution, NCBA serves a wide spectrum of customers, from corporations to multinationals to MSMEs, offering several innovative propositions. The Group’s retail banking proposition also provides the much needed financial relief for many households through micro-credit solutions offered through digital banking partnerships such as M-Shwari, Fuliza, Mpawa, Mokash and Momokash.
NCBA continues to demonstrate its agility and ability to respond to evolving customer needs. Last year, in conjunction with two leading players in the digital mobile lending sector, the Group committed to reducing fees and giving penalised borrowers reprieve on platforms such as M-Shwari and Fuliza. This move was warmly received by the customers, and is expected to provide timely relief for numerous households facing financial pressures brought about by the current wave of inflation.
NCBA is a firm pacesetter in corporate sustainability, which looks beyond financial performance and puts into consideration the impact businesses can have on the environment and communities in which they operate.
The bank is playing its part to finance green initiatives that help protect the environment. For instance, NCBA recently made history as the first bank to finance electric vehicles by injecting Sh 2 billion in asset finance, a decision that the lender believes will bolster asset quality and support the government’s effort to reduce carbon emissions in the country.
One of the defining features of NCBA is the sense of solidarity with the community. The bank continues to play an active and influential role in charity and philanthropy across the country. NCBA has partnered with the Palmhouse Foundation, Edumed Trust, Mpesa Foundation, Dr. Choksey Albinism Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages Kenya to deliver educational sponsorship programmes to deserving children.
In addition, the Group has partnered with Junior Achievement Kenya, under the job shadow programme, to educate over 40 students and youth on entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential programs.
NCBA’s patronage of golf is also worth mentioning. In 2021, the bank launched the inaugural NCBA Golf Series, attracting over 3,000 golfers to participate in tournaments across 16 golf clubs countrywide. In 2022, the series expanded across the region with 18 tournaments in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
NCBA has positioned itself as a premier employer of choice in the banking sector, in line with the strategic goal of building a high performance culture. The lender had more than 2,300 employees in Kenya in 2021, with an employee retention rate of 90 percent, according to the 2021 Annual Report. Impressively, the bank promoted 219 (close to 10 percent) of its staff in 2021, indicating that NCBA is not only able to attract talent, but also grow and develop it – a top consideration for professionals looking to grow their careers in today’s competitive and agile labour market.
Picking the cue from the global and continental exposure by its MD/CEO John Gachora, the Group has come full circle to assume its position as a leader in the banking industry.