The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few), according to Wikipedia, states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
It has since become an axiom of business management that “80% of sales come from 20% of clients”.
Mathematically, it is generally believed that even many natural phenomena have been shown to empirically exhibit such a distribution- also known as the Pareto distribution!
The Ugandan banking industry does not seem to be any different.
Meet Uganda’s 8 banks that control nearly 80% of the industry.
In order of size, they are Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, dfcu Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, Equity Bank and DTB.
All of them, with the exception of Centenary Bank are wither foreign owned or have majority foreign shareholders- but at least three; the top three are run by Ugandan CEOs.
UGX 21.7 trillion assets
They eight banks, together control UGX21.7 trillion (USD5.8 billion) in assets- or 77% of the industry’s total assets, valued at (UGX28.2 trillion). All the other 16 banks, control only UGX6.5 trillion in assets, or 23% of the industry.
USD5.8 billion is equivalent to 21% of Uganda’s GDP estimated at USD27 billion in 2018.
In 2018 alone, the 8 giants, added UGX1.13 billion to their assets, accounting for 74% of the industry’s new assets valued at UGX1.53 trillion.
Stanbic, the largest of them all, although it registered a UGX11.1 billion decline in assets, remained the country’s largest bank with a humongous UGX5.4 trillion in assets or 19.1% of total industry share.
To demonstrate the top-heavy structure of the Ugandan banking industry, Stanbic, the No.1 bank in assets (UGX5.4 trillion), has 87 times more assets than ABC Capital Bank, the 24th bank, which in 2018 had UGX61.7 billion!
In the No.2 position is the church-owned Centenary bank that in 2018 saw its assets grow by 17.2%, from UGX2.7 trillion to UGX3.2 trillion. Centenary bank controls 11.3% of the market share.
Standard Chartered Bank, in the 3rd position, controls UGX2.92 trillion in assets (10.4% market share) closely followed by dfcu Bank in the 4th position, with UGX2.88 trillion (10.3% market share).
Barclays, in the 5th place, controls UGX2.8 trillion worth of assets and 9.9% industry share.
Bank of Baroda and DTB Uganda in the 6th and 7th position, control UGX1.7 trillion and UGX1.6 trillion respectively, representing 6.1% and 5.7% market share.
Equity Bank, which entered the trillionaires club in 2017, having notched UGX1 trillion in assets then, in 2018, saw their assets increase by a further 14.3% or UGX147.1 billion, closing 2018 with UGX1.2 trillion and a market share of 4.2%.
Big lenders club
Together 8 banks command 78% of industry lending, and in 2018, increased their loan portfolio by 12.8% (UGX1.1 trillion) from UGX8.8 trillion to UGX9.9 trillion.
Again Stanbic Bank, tops the big lenders club, having lent out UGX2.5 trillion in 2018 (19.7% market share). At UGX2.5 trillion lent out in 2018, Stanbic bank nearly lent out more money than all the other 16 banks combined.
The 16 banks lent out UGX2.8 trillion altogether.
In the 2nd position is Centenary bank with UGX1.5 trillion and dfcu Bank with UGX1.4 trillion in the 2nd and third positions. Standard Chartered bank, Barclays and Bank of Baroda come in the 4th, 5th and 6th positions respectively, with UGX1.3 trillion, UGX1.2 trillion and UGX757.2 billion lent out in 2018.
Equity Bank and DTB bank are in the 7th and 8th positions respectively, having lent out UGX699.8 billion and UGX534.2 billion respectively
The 8 banks in 2018 also run 78% of industry deposits, having grown their deposits portfolio by 7.2% or UGX1 trillion from UGX14.2 trillion to UGX3.9 trillion.
Again Stanbic, Centenary Bank, dfcu Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, DTB Uganda and Equity bank are the leaders in that order.
Stanbic, the biggest in deposits, took in a fresh UGX271.4 billion in customer deposits (a growth of 7.5%), reaching 3.9 trillion or 20% of industry deposits, closely followed by Centenary Bank with UGX2.3 trillion.
Although dfcu saw a reduction of UGX8.1 billion in deposits during 2018, it easily remained in the 3rd position with UGX1.97 trillion.
The industry is so top heavy that the top 5 banks in deposits, have more deposits (UGX11.9 trillion) than all the other 19 banks combined, who have UGX7.7 trillion.
Although the big 8 experienced a UGX9.7 billion decline in profits, they still controlled 90% of industry profits- taking in UGX676.5 billion in 2018, down from UGX686.2 billion in 2017.
The decline was largely caused by dfcu Bank which saw a 52% decline in profit, from UGX127.6 billion in 2017 to UGX61.7 billion in 2018.
Barclays also saw a 4.2% decline in profit, from UGX72bn to UGX69 billion in 2018
Stanbic bank, again led the pack with UGX 215.1 billion net profit or 28.7% of industry profit share.
With the industry nearly fully recovered from the 2016 crisis when Non-Performing Loans to total gross loans reached a record-breaking 10.47%- NPLS in 2018 were according to BoU at 3.41 %, the industry looks set to maintain this stability onwards throughout 2019.
How Equity Bank transformed a small Ugandan UGX59bn microfinance institution into a UGX1.3 trillion bank
Two major mergers and acquisitions in the Ugandan financial sector made headlines in 2008.
One was the $25.3 million acquisition of Uganda Microfinance Limited (UML) by Kenya’s Equity Bank and the other was the acquisition and rebranding of Commercial Micro Finance Ltd (CMF), at an undisclosed sum, by Global Trust Bank, a newly licensed bank in Uganda, majority owned by Nigeria’s largest insurance company- Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc.
The two microfinance institutions were at the time largest privately owned Tier II financial institutions. CMF had assets valued at UGX33.2 billion and UGX20 billion in deposits as at end of 2017.
UML, founded in 1997, on the other hand had total assets slightly above USD 34m (UGX56.1 billion at the time) and a gross loan portfolio of USD 22.8m (UGX37.6 billion) and 83,000 customers spread across 28 branches inside of Uganda.
Fast-forward to 2019- one of the two banks is no more- Global Trust Bank was on July 25, 2014, shut down by the central bank over insolvency. The other, Equity Bank has grown from almost the bottom of the industry and is now the 8th largest bank and 1 of only 8 banks in the Trillionaire’s Club- CEO EA Magazine’s categorisation of banks with over UGX1 trillion in assets.
Following Equity Group’s significant investment into the rationalisation, consolidation and rebranding of all UML branches as well as the installation of modern banking technologies, Equity Bank was by 2011, ready for full take off as a full-scale commercial bank.
Todate, Equity Bank has risen from being the 14th largest bank by deposits with UGX139 billion in 2011 with 1.72% market share, to the 8th largest bank by deposits, growing by 530% to UGX876 billion and 4.5% market share.
As a result, the bank has also in the same period grown from being the 13th biggest lender with a UGX136.2 billion loan book and 2.52% market share to being the 8th largest lender with UGX670billion in loans and 5.5% share of industry lending- a growth of 600%.
Buoyed by growth in lending, Equity Bank grew lending by 1,075% from UGX204.7billion and a market share of 1.8%- the 14th biggest in 2011, to UGX1.2 trillion at the end of 2018; more than doubling market share to 4.2%.
The bank also recovered from an UGX22.9 billion net loss in 2011 to becoming the 8th most profitable bank in 2018, having made a net profit of UGX35.5billion.
The K-factor in Equity Bank’s growth
While the first years played a significant role in setting the foundation for growth, much of the significant growth has happened from 2015 and has largely been the work of two gentlemen; Samuel Kirubi and Anthony Kituuka- the K-factor!
Mr Kirubi, joined Equity Bank Uganda as Managing Director in the last quarter of 2015 after serving as Managing Director, Equity Bank Rwanda and before that, Chief Operations Officer of Equity Bank South Sudan.
He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration (Finance) from Moi University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Statistics from Egerton University. He is also a graduate of Advanced Management Programme (Strathmore- IESE Business School, Barcelona Spain).
Although Mr. Kituuka joined Equity Bank Uganda as Executive Director in June 2016, he in October 2014 was the Executive Director in charge of regional subsidiaries at Equity Bank Group; indirectly, Uganda was under his watch.
He brought with him to Equity Bank, over 12 years of banking, having previously worked with Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) in Nairobi as the head of Global Corporates, KCB Bank Uganda Limited and Barclays Bank Uganda Limited.
He holds an MBA in Oil and Gas from Middlesex University, London and a bachelor’s degree in Statistics and Applied Economics from Makerere University, Uganda. He is also an FCCA and an alumnus of the Strathmore, Lagos and IESE (Spain) Business Schools.
In March 2017, the duo were also joined, at a non-executive level by Apollo Nelson Makubuya, as board chairman. Makubuya, is a Ugandan corporate lawyer, with extensive knowledge about the banking industry.
The period between 2015-2018 has seen brisk growth in deposits- by 84% from UGX476.7 billion in 2015 to UGX875.5 billion at the end of 2018- a compounded annual growth rate of 16%.
Lending has more than doubled, growing by 188.6% from UGX246.4 billion to UGX711 billion- a CAGR of 30%. As a result, assets have grown by 89%- from UGX622 billion to UGX1,175.4 billion- on average 17% growth year on year.
Matter of fact, in 2018 Equity was one of the fastest growing banks posting the second biggest growth in lending- UGX203.8 billion; 3rd biggest growth in deposits (UGX146 billion) and 4th biggest absolute growth in assets (UGX 147.bn).
This growth is powered by a large network of 33 branches and 35 ATMs spread across the country. 17 of these branches are located in Central and greater Kampala, serving over 530,000 customers. The Bank has also deployed a number of alternate channels to enhance product and service delivery. These include: Internet Banking, Eazzy 247- a mobile banking service, Point of Sales (POS) machines as well as partnerships with major telecom companies.
Rise and rise; Equity Bank seems unstoppable
According to 2019 half year results, Equity Bank is set for yet another above-industry growth 2019.
Customer deposits grew by 26% from UGX750 billion in June 2018 to UGX947billion in June 2019. Lending grew by 38%, from UGX601 billion to UGX829 billion, influencing a 22% rise in assets from UGX1,038 billion to UGX1,320 billion.
Profit before tax grew by 12% from UGX24.9 billion to UGX27.9 billion.
If this trajectory continues, the bank could close 2019 with over UGX1.2 trillion in deposits, UGX1 trillion in lending and over UGX61 billion in net profit.
But most importantly, the bank continues to live its corporate purpose of transforming the lives and livelihoods of its customers, socially and economically by availing them modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities.
In line with its group approach, Equity Bank is one of the leading enablers in driving inclusion through innovations and strategic partnerships with telecoms, utility companies, local governments, religious bodies, and third- tier financial institutions.
Bank of Africa’s Arthur Isiko on the bank’s quest to transform Ugandan SMEs and the future of banking
Arthur Isiko (FCCA), is a seasoned banker who has spent 17 years in banking at BANK OF AFRICA’s Uganda country operation. He joined the Bank in 2003 from PricewaterhouseCoopers as an Audit Manager and rose to become the Head of Finance, a role he served in for 6 years. In April 2010, he was appointed the Bank’s Executive Director and later became Managing Director in October 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting from Makerere University and an MBA from the University of Warwick.
Since taking on the role, the Bank has steadily grown its total asset book by 64% from UGX 498billion in 2014 to UGX 815billion by end of 2018. There has also been a notable turn around in profitability from UGX 1billion in 2014 to double digit figures of each of the last three years with 2018 at UGX 12.6 billion.
CEO EA Magazine, caught up with Mr Isiko on a number of insights about Bank of Africa, the banking industry and several other issues.
Who is Bank of Africa?
Bank of Africa started its operations in Uganda in January 1985 as small deposit-taking private company within a family conglomerate. In July 1991, it evolved into an investment bank. By November 1996, it was granted a commercial banking license as Sembule Commercial Bank. In October 1997, the shareholders of the Bank successfully secured co-investors in the form of Banque Belgolaise of Belgium (the part of Fortis Group), and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) who recapitalized the Bank and re-branded it Allied Bank International. It was run under this arrangement until December 2006 when Banque Belgolaise divested its ownership to Bank of Africa Group SA, an international banking consortium. The change in ownership was accompanied by a change in name to Bank of Africa – Uganda Ltd. With acquisition of a controlling stake in Bank of Africa Group SA by BMCE Bank in 2010, BMCE Bank of Africa became the ultimate holding company of the Bank.
BMCE Bank of Africa is present on four continents in 32 countries, 21 of which are in Africa, 8 in Europe, 1 in North America, and 2 in Asia. It operates with a total asset base of USD 30 billion and over 15,000 employees. In East Africa, the Group is present in Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, and DRC. We also have a representative office in Ethiopia.
In Uganda, we operate 34 branches that are well spread across the country. Over the last 5 years, we have enjoyed a healthy growth – roughly a cumulative annual growth rate of about 17% in total assets, customer deposits, and credit.
What in your view do you think differentiates BANK OF AFRICA from the rest?
First, our heritage allows us to have multi-cultural DNA which allows us to fuse local market knowhow with international best practice Group strengths as we deliver effective financial solutions to our clientele.
Second, we have been successful in significantly contributing to Uganda’s economic development through major interventions especially in the education, construction and trade sectors. Today, BOA in Uganda finances roughly 10% of the total credit to the education, construction and trade sectors, which is above the equilibrium 4% market share in a 24 bank market.
We are the go to financial solutions provider of many of the largest and medium-sized construction companies in Uganda and we are helping them grow and be able to finance many of the large contracts that you see in Uganda.
We are extremely passionate about the education sector in Uganda. Financing quality hard and soft infrastructure in the education sector and supporting the players in the sector to run their institutions more efficiently and profitably, to us, is much more than just business, it is about contributing to the growth of our economy. Quality education raises our young population’s productivity, improves innovation and creativity and boosts entrepreneurship, all of which are key drivers of economic growth and eventually development.
What would you say are some of the bank’s biggest milestones in the last 5 years?
Being able to transform ourselves from a bank that was struggling with profitability to a highly profitable bank, with a cumulative annual growth rate of about 17% over the last 5 years is probably our biggest achievement. This is especially important in light of the growth rate of the Ugandan economy that has averaged 5% per annum and the average banking industry annual growth rate of 10% in the same period. Tripling the average economic growth rate and almost doubling banking industry growth is a significant achievement for us.
Secondly, we were the first bank to introduce the Mobile Wallet into this market. Obviously, mobile banking has now been adopted by many other financial institutions but I am proud to say that we were the first movers in that channel and our mobile banking solution today still provides a very significant competitive advantage in the market. When you compare what our wallet offers versus what other wallets offer, we still have a compelling solution.
Thirdly, we have grown our footprint. 15 years ago we only had 3 branches while today we have 34 branches and a growing number of agent locations across the country. Though we have expanded our brick and mortar channels we have also introduced a considerable number of alternative channels, thus providing improved access and flexibility to banking service.
You mentioned that BOA is passionate about the growth of the Ugandan economy. SMEs are a critical building block of this economy and yet are starved of credit. What solutions does BOA have for SMEs?
SMEs are an integral part of our business strategy. I did mention earlier that as a business, we are passionate about construction, education and trade sectors and many players in these sectors are SMEs. Today we have over 70,000 SMEs that we bank and SMEs contribute roughly 20% to our assets, liabilities and revenue. In fact, for the next 3 years, our primary focus will be to further increase our intervention in this segment. We anticipate that the SME contribution to our business will exceed 30% in two years.
Our SME strategy lies in understanding the challenges that they face and customising solutions for the sector while eventually ushering them into the formal sector. For example many SMEs face challenges with being able to put up sufficient collateral. But today BOA has products and services that do not necessarily require collateral.
It is also true that many SMEs do not keep formal or audited financial records, but we have evolved solutions that allow us to work with the SMEs to understand their cash flows, so we can be able to support their needs while providing affordable financing and operational solutions necessary for their growth.
Are you looking at the budding oil and gas sector as well?
The oil and gas sector is going to be a very significant sector in Uganda over the next many decades, so we cannot avoid it. But again much of our contribution is going to be around supporting SMEs that are already involved in or want to be involved in the sector.
Digital banking is upon us, how prepared is BANK OF AFRICA?
The future of banking is in mobility. Consumer preferences and industry innovations are all increasingly moving towards bank-as-you-go or 24/7 banking. Customers are increasingly opting for financial service availability whenever and wherever they want.
As a bank, it is critical and it is part of our focus and vision to anticipate these needs and be the bank that responds to them. We started the bank-led Mobile Wallet proposition in Uganda and today the industry has wallets, agent banking, and internet banking all channels aimed at driving convenience for the customer. There will be multiple options, for the public out there and obviously with those options comes the flexibility that the client is looking for.
That said, brick and mortar banking is not entirely going away, but rather its use will change. In the future, as the premium on mobility increases, we hope to see a transformation in the use of banking halls from simply transactional locations to service centres, where customers come to obtain financial advice and discuss growth prospects of their businesses and plans, rather than undertake basic transactions.
Can you tell me roughly how cheaper an agent is compared to a brick & mortar branch?
Over the last five years the cost of operation in the banking sector has averaged anywhere between 7% to 9% per annum of bank total assets. Half of that cost is apportioned to payroll related costs. As more and more basic transactions go to the agent network and electronic channels, eventually these payroll costs will significantly reduce. If you consider other brick and mortar related costs such as branch rent and utilities, the cost savings arising from alternate channels such as agent banking becomes quite significant. These savings are expected to be passed on to the customer.
So can we say that as agent banking and other forms of digital banking take root, we should warm up to affordable lending?
I think yes.
We need to understand why lending rates are as high as they are and I can offer two basic reasons; the first is the expected return from those investing in offering financial services and the other is the cost of providing the service.
Starting with the expectations of those investing in financial services, today an investor in financial services has two options to generate returns, lend to the private sector and get a return at a certain risk or lend to government the biggest borrower in our markets today through participation in government paper auctions.
In fact if you closely examine private sector financing many African countries, private sector credit comprises just about 20% of GDP, compared to developed countries such as the US where it is 180% of GDP or UK and China where it is 140%. There is just a handful of African countries where private sector credit is above 50% of GDP such as Morocco (80%) and South Africa (about 65%).
So for example today in Uganda, the interest rate on a three to five year bond averages at about 14%. An offshore investor would consider such pricing and account for potential foreign currency fluctuations, typically, a potential Shilling annual devaluation of 5% based on long term Shilling past behaviour. Logically therefore, such an investor should expect a typical Ugandan investment return of 19%. Consequently, it would be illogical for such an investor to consider lending to the private sector at less than 19%.
On the operating cost argument, as I have mentioned to you, the average cost of operation in any financial institution ranges roughly between 7% to 9% of a bank’s total assets. So if a cost of operation of 9% is taken together with an average cost of funds in the market of between 3% to 5% and another 2% to 3% as cost of risk, even before accounting for investment profit margins, you have a minimum funding cost of 17%. So hoping for average lending rates below this is a stretch, unless something is done about the cost of operation.
That is why as a banking industry, one of the approaches we have considered is to take a look at the biggest cost centre which is the cost of operation and introduce mechanisms to reduce this cost such as agent banking. If we can bring down the cost to about 4-5%, we will immediately see that translate into a similar reduction in the cost of borrowing.
The Ugandan banking industry is top heavy; 5 out of 24 banks control 61% of bank assets and 74% of profitability. Don’t you think Uganda is overbanked? Do you believe there is a case for fewer banks that will benefit from economies of scale, lower their costs and pass on these benefits to customers in form of lower interest rates?
I do not think so.
Today, if I take our 24 banks which are now going to become 26 with the two new entrants, compared to our population, which is about 40 million people that would compute to roughly 1.4 million people per bank.
If I just take that as a statistic and compare with other countries, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and the UK are at about 1.6 million people per bank. So from that simple statistic, numerically we are not necessarily overbanked.
So the problem then is different, the problem is infrastructural and access to the under banked or unbanked. It is still difficult for financial service providers to deliver service to the informal sector in a cost-meaningful way. That is why you have a scenario where in a population of 40 million people, out of which 14 million is the labour force, there are only 9 million bank accounts but 22 million mobile money wallet subscribers.
That tells you that there is an under-banked population that still requires formal financial services.
Over the last 10 years, we have seen several Ugandan executives rise up to become CEOs of multinationals in various sectors including banks. In your assessment, do you feel we have arrived or are we still lacking in some areas?
Over the last couple of years, we have actually increased the executive expertise that we have as Ugandans. Our educational levels are higher and international industry exposure and experience for many of the executives in this market has also grown. So yes, the crop of people who are available to run institutions and entities in the country has increased, but that is not to say that we are at optimal capacity.
It also does not in its entirety necessarily explain why there is an increase in local executives. There is another factor that is completely ultra vires of what is happening in Uganda and that is the growth of companies and the middle class in Asia. The explosion of the middle class and successful companies in China, India and in most of the Asian tigers is quite significant that the expatriate requirements there have actually increased and as such, a transfer of executive expatriate service to Asia has gradually resulted into reductions in supply in Africa.
Furthermore, while there has been an exponential increase in the quality of talent, multinationals also realise that there are cultural issues that expatriate staff need to deal with coupled with the high costs related to managing expatriate staff. Typically if you do a comparison of local versus expatriate recruitment, typically a local resource would be 2 to 3 times cheaper than an expatriate resource. So that has been significant motivation for the multinationals to consider local talent.
When you look ahead in the next 5-10 years, what would you say are the major trends that are going to shape the financial services industry and how are you positioning BOA to exploit or be at the forefront of those trends?
As I mentioned earlier, the premium on mobility is going to continue defining what many financial institutions do. And it is not just what we are doing today but in almost everything that we deliver. It is going to be a requirement to deliver service in a way that is providing a lot of flexibility to the customer.
Today, financial institutions are blessed with big data. If there is any sector in Uganda that has opportunity to use big data, it is the financial services industry. I believe this data will shape how we segment, target and position solutions to address the needs of our potential and existing customer base.
Another trend is the growth of social media which has brought a serious public attention deficit. I will not call it a disorder yet but it is a serious attention problem. To get attention from the public, today is extremely hard, far much harder than it was 10 years ago, as focus tends towards what is more exciting and attention grabbing.
Knowledge sharing to create the kind of information symmetry that is required for financial services to be effective is going to require extremely directed communication that relies on big data and therefore financial institutions that are extremely savvy with the way they handle big data are going to really succeed.
EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT: Post Bank Uganda appoints Julius Kakeeto as M.D replacing Steven Mukweli
Post Bank Uganda Limited has appointed Mr Julius Kakeeto as the bank’s new Managing Director.
He replaces Stephen Mukweli who has served in this role for the last 15 years.
Mr Kakeeto has a wealth of banking experience spanning over 19 years in Uganda and the United Kingdom.
He started his career with Ernst and Young before joining Citibank where he served in various capacities.
After Citibank, he joined Equity Bank Uganda as a Finance Director before joining Orient Bank.
His most recent assignment has been Managing Director/CEO of Orient Bank for the last 4 and a half years.
Mr Kakeeto is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA), a member of the Institue of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda and an alumni of Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom (UK) where he obtained an MBA.
PostBank Uganda is ranked in fourth position in financial inclusion with a network of 43 branches and 12 mobile banking vans serving several customers countrywide.
The bank is looking forward to it’s next chapter that is aimed at promotion to a Tier 1 financial institution.
PostBank Uganda Limited was established in 1997.
It is fully government owned with over 2 million clients.
Post Bank is audited by Ernest & Young.
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