KCB Bank has surpassed Equity to become the largest lender in the country in terms of asset size. The bank achieved this milestone by aggressively expanding its foreign subsidiaries.

According to regulatory filings, the total assets of the Bank reached Sh1.55 trillion by the end of December, exceeding Equity’s total assets of Sh1.44 trillion.

Although KCB outperformed Equity in terms of asset size, Equity had a higher profitability during the same period. KCB clarified that its recently acquired subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) did not contribute to the full-year profits, resulting in a loss of Sh65 million for the DRC business in December.

Had KCB consolidated the full year, it would have reported a profit of Sh3.2 billion from its Congo unit.

Both banking giants’ shareholders are eagerly anticipating the first-quarter results to assess the performance of these lenders in the near future.

In the year ending December 2022, Equity outperformed its Kenyan rivals, including KCB, by leading the Kenyan banking industry with a profit before tax of Sh59.8 billion, surpassing KCB’s Sh57.3 billion by Sh2.5 billion.

The annual reports of these two top banks highlight the intense competition for control of the banking industry. KCB has aggresively been increasing their presence in the region over the past decade, striving to secure it’s position as the leading bank in the area.

KCB CEO Paul Russo and Equity CEO James Mwangi have consistently emphasized the vast growth opportunities offered by the wider eastern Africa region. They have signaled their intentions to continue expanding their operations accordingly.

Regulatory disclosures indicate that KCB’s customer deposits amounted to Sh1.14 trillion, surpassing Equity’s Sh1.05 trillion. KCB Group and Equity Group are the only Kenyan-based banks with customer deposits exceeding one trillion shillings.

In terms of net customer loans, KCB leads the pack with Sh863 billion, surpassing Equity’s loan book of Sh706 billion by Sh156 billion.

KCB’s shareholder funds amount to Sh200 billion, surpassing Equity’s Sh182 billion.

KCB also boasts the largest branch network in the region, with a total of 603 branches reported in 2022. In contrast, Equity reported 337 branches in 2021. The CEO of Equity Group anticipates that branchless banking will become the norm in the near future.

On top of that, KCB remains the larest employer in the country within the banking sector, where it employs over 11,000 individuals across the region.

In the Kenyan market, excluding regional businesses, KCB has successfully established itself as the market leader. KCB Bank Kenya’s total assets amount to Sh971 billion, outperforming Equity’s Sh894 billion. Additionally, KCB’s revenue stands at Sh93 billion, exceeding Equity’s Sh86 billion.