Nigerian banks lagged behind some of their Kenya and South African peers in terms of how much profit they generated with their shareholders’ equity in 2022. Data compiled by BusinessDay showed Nigerian banks recorded an average return on equity (ROE) of 16.50 percent in 2022, lagging behind South African and Kenya peers of 27 percent […]
Nigerian banks lagged behind some of their Kenya and South African peers in terms of how much profit they generated with their shareholders’ equity in 2022.
Data compiled by BusinessDay showed Nigerian banks recorded an average return on equity (ROE) of 16.50 percent in 2022, lagging behind South African and Kenya peers of 27 percent and 28.90 percent respectively.
“Ghana bonds largely dragged down Nigeria’s bank performance,” a senior analyst who prefers to be anonymous, said.
ROE is a metric that measures a bank’s profitability by revealing how much profit a bank generates with the money shareholders have invested.
Further findings showed Equity Group Holdings (a Kenyan bank) led its African peers with a ROE of 27.6 percent by the end of 2022. In second place was Capitec from South Africa with a ROE of 26 percent.
Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, a Nigerian bank secured the third position with a ROE of 23.61 percent, while Barclays Bank of Kenya ranked fourth with an ROE of 22.9 percent.
“Unlike its African peers, Nigerian banks were unable to deliver higher returns to shareholders as profit was supported by foreign exchange gains, income from investment securities due to gradual improvement in yield environment and loan accretion,” Tunde Ogunbiyi, an audit expert attached to one of the big four accounting firms, said.
The Co-operative Bank of Kenya secured the sixth position with a ROE of 21.2 percent, followed closely by FirstRand from South Africa, which secured the seventh position with a ROE of 20.6 percent.
Stanbic IBTC, a Nigerian bank, followed closely with a ROE of 20.4 percent. United Bank for Africa (UBA) from Nigeria attained a ROE of 19.7 percent, ranking next in line.
The Co-operative Bank of Kenya achieved a ROE of 17.3 percent by the end of 2022.
Zenith Bank from Nigeria, Barclays Africa Group from South Africa, and Standard Bank Group, also from South Africa, recorded ROEs of 16.8 percent, 16.4 percent, and 16.6 percent, respectively.
Another Nigerian bank, FBN Holdings, the holding company of First Bank of Nigeria, recorded a ROE of 15.2 percent while Bank NED from South Africa recorded the lowest ROE of 14 percent by the end of 2022.
A global rating agency, Fitch Ratings, predicted that Nigerian banks’ operating environments could deteriorate in 2022–2023 as adverse global economic conditions feed through to the local economy.
Fitch said the pressures on banks’ profitability and asset quality would be higher than initially expected due to high inflation and a potential economic slowdown.
It noted that Nigerian banks are expected to face these headwinds despite higher oil prices.
“We expect interest rates to increase further given accelerating inflation and tighter global financial conditions,” Fitch said. “This should support the banks’ net interest margins, which have been dented by low rates in recent years.”
A report by McKinsey & Company showed profitability in Africa’s five biggest banking markets (Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa) has been on a steady decline, decreasing by an average of two percentage points over the past six years.
“This downward drift in profitability could be attributed to a fall in net interest income (NII) in a decreasing interest rate environment, and declining fee margins due to increased competition and digitisation,” McKinsey & Company said in a report titled ‘African banking: The productivity opportunity’ said.
McKinsey analysis showed banks in most African markets have high cost-to-income ratios, along with low banking penetration, compared with benchmark emerging markets in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America
“African banks are costly to run, with an average cost-to-asset ratio of between four and five percent, almost twice as high as the global average,” McKinsey said.
It added, “At the same time, the economic environment within which many African banks operate, often characterised by lower market maturity in terms of diversification and sophistication, means that the revenue pool is of sub average scale, especially in a decreasing interest rate environment.”
McKinsey said banks may need to review their cost base and operating models, especially if they want to increase access to the banking system in a cost-efficient manner—a necessary condition for driving much-needed financial inclusion.