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Citi Bank

CITI BANK: Leveraging on focus of growth sectors of the economy while aligning the BIG 4 Agenda

Citu bank

Citibank N.A. Kenya has been operating in Kenya since 1974 and has two branches in Nairobi and Mombasa, serving Corporate and Institutional clients. Citibank Kenya is the regional hub for the Citi East Africa cluster, which covers Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia. It's the only solely corporate bank in Kenya.

The bank offers a range of banking services to companies, including commercial finance, inter-bank transactions, investment services, deposits, cash management and electronic banking. We assist our customers with managing their finances to increase the value of their investments and finance their projects. Citi Kenya also provides global transaction services, treasury and corporate finance services.

Last year was a challenging year for most sectors not leaving out the banking sector, having had two back to back presidential elections, full impact of the drought and a New Year post the interest rate cap in 2017. However with Citi Bank recorded impressive results for the year, with total operating income going up from Ksh 8.98Bn in 2016 to Ksh 9.51 Bn in 2017, a 23.08 per cent rise in after-tax profit while net profit rose to Ksh2.86 Bn from Ksh2.20 Bn.

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However with Citi Bank recorded impressive results for the year, with total operating income going up from Ksh 8.98Bn in 2016 to Ksh 9.51 Bn in 2017,
“Citi had a very good year; our performance in 2017 was outstanding despite the headwinds and unfavorable environment. We were able to grow our balance sheet; corporate loans went up by 30 per cent upwards. We had to be very careful with margins, before interest rate caps our rate was well below 12 per cent and post interest rate cap our rates remained the same. However what aided in our good performance was the volume, client experience and engagement, foreign exchange volumes rather than foreign exchange margins.” emphasizes Joyce Ann Wainaina Managing Director Citi Bank Kenya

Joyce-Ann Wainaina CEO Citibank

“Citi had a very good year; our performance in 2017 was outstanding despite the headwinds and unfavorable environment. We were able to grow our balance sheet; corporate loans went up by 30 per cent upwards. We had to be very careful with margins, before interest rate caps our rate was well below 12 per cent and post interest rate cap our rates remained the same. However what aided in our good performance was the volume, client experience and engagement, foreign exchange volumes rather than foreign exchange margins.” emphasizes Joyce Ann Wainaina Managing Director Citi Bank Kenya

She says the bank had a strategy session across East Africa with CEO’s and business heads, some clients and technology and innovation companies. The plan was to keep on focusing on the growth sectors of the economy which has been testament to the year on year growth per annum that has been witnessed for the last 4 years as well as The Big 4 agenda introduced by President Uhuru Kenyatta which focuses on value addition in Manufacturing, Universal Healthcare, Affordable Housing and Food Security.

“We are already aligned to the country’s growth strategy; a closer look at our corporate balance sheet today will show that 50 per cent goes to manufacturing and agribusiness. We bank with almost all global pharmaceutical companies, 20 per cent of our balance sheet goes to the supply side of the housing like the cement and cable companies. What we are not doing is changing our strategy from corporate and investment banking and we are not going to provide consumer/retail business, however what we have done over the past few years is finance the supply chain for our corporate clients.” Says Mrs.Wainaina

Interest rate capping did not at all affect business operations at Citi bank as the lender does not play in the consumer and retail space. The bank was already in the strata of the economy that was by no means affected by the rate cap.

“As for Citi the fact that we have blue chip high quality corporate clients who are at the supply side of the economy, our rate were already very low, because our rate affects what happens downstream, therefore we do not have space to offer very high rates on the supply side of the economy. We have remained very flat in terms of our rate to our clients before and after interest rate capping.” says Mrs. Wanaina.

She however emphasizes on not subscribing to price controls of any kind which is similar to interest rate capping. There is a need for lending; if you cut the price then you squeeze access. This has created uneven playing field when one sector like the micro finance institutions and technology firms providing the same credit under different rules. Mrs. Wainaina is optimistic that the rate cap will be repealed after an agreement last month between the government and the IMF.

“The impact of IFRS 9 is going to be negligible, we run the new model of IFRS 9 on our loan portfolio, and the entire impact was about 0.2 per cent. The capital adequacy statutory minimum required by Central Bank is 14.5 per cent; Citi’s is at 25.6 per cent then we still have a buffer of about 10 per cent. We are also very well capitalized and internally we have been using the U.S gap model which looks at actual losses rather than expected losses.” Says Mrs.Wainaina
The bank has invested a lot in technology which is a necessary spending in excess of $1Bn in a year on technology. More than 98 per cent of transactions are initiated by the clients. The Bank has 2 deployed robotics aliases Bob and Amina that do the checks such as anti money laundering (AML), manage size of the volume, risks and parameters at higher execution speeds.

The bank has invested a lot in technology which is a necessary spending in excess of $1Bn in a year on technology. More than 98 per cent of transactions are initiated by the clients. The Bank has 2 deployed robotics aliases Bob and Amina that do the checks such as anti money laundering (AML), manage size of the volume, risks and parameters at higher execution speeds

“For all global banks it is necessary because you need to continue the disruption within yourselves to stay ahead of the curve. This is deliberate, because it’s the bank’s service strategy. For us technology is a risk management tool, service and baking tool. It is the only way you can ensure consistency of service delivery. With technology comes with its fair share of challenges we have to ensure the best and most secure systems that can be offered in this environment.”

Mrs. Wanaina believes that the growth of the economy will lead to the drive growth of the banking sector. Government execution of its strategy of vision of 2030 and big 4 strategy will have a very direct bearing on how the banking industry performs. The improvement of working capital financing driven by changes in the retail sector, better weather conditions and quite a bit of time before the next elections on the economy will be phenomenal. 


In five year times she says the Bank aspires to be a corporate investment bank doing a lot more with the supply chains of the clients. We foresee our current clients become global players because of the continuous growth.

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