Top Banks in Kenya: Commercial, Ranking & Classification

This article provides a detailed and current list of banks in Kenya. It is not just a list. It is an exploration of the banks in terms of ranking and classification.

So, if you are looking for the top banks in Kenya, this article is the ultimate resource guide for the commercial and non-commercial banks in Kenya.

History of Banks in Kenya

Banks in Kenya which are operating in a population of over 43 people have a congested diverse history.

Initially, the total number of financial institutions in the country was immense with more than 180 Savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOs), 43 banks, and Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) in place.

Since 2015, a few banking tier 3 organizations were put under receivership realization that they could function normally after being assessed to have minimum liquidity ratios.

Top Banks in Kenya Ranking

There are about 50 notable commercial financial banking institutions in Kenya. They include both foreign Banks’ representative offices and licensed commercial banks.

The functions and operations of these institutions are closely assessed and maintained through internal audit mechanism.

These approaches are meant or designed for the effectiveness of individual bank’s internal control, governance processes and systems, and risk management.

These three areas encompass the core management and operation management systems where supervisory authorities such as the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA).

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) was established in 1966 following East Africa Currency Board’s (EACB) dissolution and is located in the Nairobi Capital City.

The CBK is the country’s central financial institution. The operation of CBA was streamlined to and the institution was put under Article 231 of the 2010 promulgated Kenyan constitution.

As a result, the bank was tasked with formulating fiscal and monetary functions as stipulated by the Act of parliament. The headquarters of CBA is along Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya.

Here are some of the top licensed common local commercial banking institutions in Kenya today:

  1. Citibank
  2. Equity Bank
  3. Barclays Bank of Kenya
  4. Cooperative Bank of Kenya
  5. Family Bank
  6. Kenya Commercial Bank
  7. Commercial Bank of Kenya

List of Banks in Kenya – Top 6


Introduced in the Kenyan financial market as early as 1974, Citibank’s core operation have been limited to two branches in the country’s major cities, Mombasa and Nairobi branches, specifically interested in serving the financial needs of Institutional and Corporate clients.

In the cluster of East Africa, Citibank can be regarded as the regional hub of this region, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.

In 1999, the company embarked on its wide-range plan to expand and focus its business operations on taking into account both the vibrant and emerging lower and middle and market tiers.

The bank offers an array of financial services such as electronic banking, cash management, deposits, investment services, inter-bank transactions, and commercial finance among others. It also offers global corporate, treasury, and financial transaction services to its customers, aiming to enhance the investment value of its clients.

Equity Bank

Equity Bank is regarded a leading credit commercial financial institution in Kenya in terms of the number of membership, approximated to be more than 10.1 million in 2015. It operates from its head office in Nairobi County City.

It has over 50 active branches across the country, and a human resource believed to exceed 10,000 in direct employment and 30,000 in indirect employment.

Established in 1984 under the name Equity Building Society (EBS). Its vision is to make Africans prosper both economically and socially.

Today, Equity bank is not only a popular brand in Kenya but Central and East African economies with branches across the region.

Barclays Bank of Kenya

The financial institution has been in the country for the last 90 years and is regarded as one of the country’s oldest bank whose assets are believed to be more than KES: 180.9 billion or US$2.22 billion.

It is headquarters in Westland Building, off Waiyaki Way, Nairobi Kenya.

It was the second largest bank in Kenya by 2011, trailing Kenya Commercial Bank Group by value assets. By mid-2011, the institution’s branch network was about 115 with about 236 ATMs located across the country.

However, being a corporate enterprise, the bank strives to position itself as one that provides its clients and customers a solution and an answer to their financial and investment dilemmas.

They offer a wide-ranging banking remedies to its financial service consumers, including investment and wealth management, investment, corporate, credit cards, and personal banking to its vast consumers spread countrywide.

Cooperative Bank of Kenya

Launched in 1965, the Cooperative Bank of Kenya was initially located in the former Cooperative House building before the 1998 bombing. It was first established as a cooperative society before fully becoming operational after getting its license in 1968.

During this period, all cooperative societies were then instructed by the ruling regime to transfer all their deposits to this financial institution besides requiring them to purchase bank’s shares.

The first subsidiary Cooperative bank was opened in 1977 under the name, Cooperative Finance Limited.

Twelve years later, this society was transformed into a fully-fledged commercial bank leading to a massive increase of its product menu.

Today, the Coop Bank targets small businesses, individuals, and large companies, particularly meeting the needs and desires of members of the cooperative societies in Kenya.

By 2015, this bank had acquired immense wealth regarding its assets which were valued at about KSh309.6 billion (US$3.345 billion).

Family Bank

Earlier known as Family Bank Limited (FBL) when it was established in 1984, Family Bank is regarded or rated as one of Kenya’s well-performing medium-sized commercial banks. It is also listed as the 5th– largest financial institutions in the country by branch network.

As recent as mid-2016, the bank had about 93 branches across the country with a customer exceeding 1.8 million.

Before then, at the end of 2015 financial year, the approximated total assets of this bank was estimated at US$812.7 million or valued at KSh 81.3 billion. It sharehold3er equity was believed to be US$119 million or KSh11.9 billion.

Although its shares are not traded on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), but rather on the over-the-counter, plans are ripe to list the bank on the NSE.

Its head office in 2013 acquired Nairobi central building, currently still under renovation to meet its high corporate standards and image.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB)

The philosophy of KCB is to ensure efficiency in financial transactions whilst enhancing the growth of market share to emerge as Kenya’s favorite financial solution provider in not only within the country but also in Africa with an international reach.

Its vision is to become the preferred provider of financial solutions to investors and consumers in the country as well as in the global arena.

They have a culture of friendliness where its personnel works as a team besides supporting one another in any event.

The bank promises to lead its potential and existing customers to a dream world of indefinite financial and business possibilities.

When it was first introduced, KCB strived to develop, nurture, and retain a wide-range of talented personnel through facilitating their capabilities and skills to make sure that the firm becomes the final financial place of destination in the represented markets.

They have thousands of employees who help them achieve this big commercial dream.

The group’s major decisions are made at its headquarters located at Telecom House, Nairobi, Kenya. Their success is built on its employee teamwork, diversity, training, and development.

Their talent management program entails the Group Management Development Exchange Programme (MDEP) since 2007, a development initiative designed to enhance its high potential talent via getting enough exposure to progressive tasks practiced in the KCB Corporate firms.

After going through these career development programs, the employees of KCB acquire more global developmental opportunities, build a wide-range of cultural experiences, and also improve their individual professionalism via transfer of abilities practiced at the KCB Group.

Commercial Banks in Kenya

Here is a list of licensed commercial financial institutions in Kenya:

  1. Citibank
  2. Equity Bank
  3. Barclays Bank of Kenya
  4. Cooperative Bank of Kenya
  5. Family Bank
  6. Kenya Commercial Bank
  7. Standard Chartered Kenya
  8. Commercial Bank of Kenya
  9. Ecobank Kenya
  10. Bank of Baroda
  11. Consolidated Bank of Kenya
  12. Diamond Trust Bank
  13. Bank of Africa
  14. ABC Bank (Kenya)
  15. Bank of India
  16. Dubai Islamic Bank
  17. Chase Bank Kenya (Recently put under Receivership)
  18. Credit Bank
  19. Guardian Bank
  20. Development Bank of Kenya
  21. Gulf Africa Bank
  22. I&M Bank
  23. NIC Bank
  24. First Community Bank
  25. Jamii Bora Bank
  26. Sidian Bank
  27. Giro Commercial Bank
  28. National Bank of Kenya
  29. Trans-National Bank Kenya
  30. Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya
  31. Middle East Bank Kenya
  32. Gulf African Bank
  33. Imperial Bank Kenya (Currently managed by a receiver firm)
  34. Housing Finance Company of Kenya
  35. Habib Bank AG Zurich
  36. Mayfair Bank
  37. Oriental Commercial Bank
  38. Stanbic Bank Kenya
  39. United Bank for Africa
  40. Paramount Universal Bank
  41. Spire Bank
  42. SBM Bank Kenya Limited
  43. Prime Bank (Kenya)
  44. Victoria Commercial Bank

Tier System of Classification of Banks in Kenya

In Kenya, there are defunct and functional banks. Functional financial institutions are more than 51 while defunct banks are tow including Euro Bank and Dubai Bank Kenya.

Others comprise representative offices of foreign banks as well as licensed commercial banks in Kenya.

The functions and operations of these institutions are closely assessed and maintained through internal audit mechanism.

These approaches are meant or designed for the effectiveness of individual bank’s internal control, governance processes and systems, and risk management.

These three areas encompass the core management and operation management systems where supervisory authorities such as the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) play a role.

Tier 1 Banks in Kenya

Tier 1 banks classification entails established financial institutions whose assets run in hundreds of billions of depositors and cumulative assets. The country’s economy cannot afford to see such kind of banks run down due to its immense, catastrophic economic effect.

CBA Bank substituted CFC Stanbic in 2015 in this tier following its loss of top-tier classification because of its depreciated market share.

Presently, there are about six tier 1 financial institutions controlling approximately 50% of the local market operating in the Kenyan economy including:

  1. Standard Chartered Bank;
  2. Barclays Bank;
  3. Co-operative Bank of Kenya;
  4. Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA);
  5. Equity Bank; and
  6. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB)

Tier 2 Banks in Kenya

Tier 2 banks in Kenya play an integral role in the country’s economy with its results showing immense growth in 2015.

A majority of these financial organizations had positive growth in their asset base because of an increase in their client deposits.

On the contrary, the tier 1 banks recorded a marginal decrease in their customer deposits in the same financial period.

The banks categorized as tier 2 comprise of medium-sized lenders controlling about 41.7% of the total monetary and fiscal market share in the country.

They include:

  1. Citibank
  2. National Bank
  3. Bank of Africa
  4. Family Bank
  5. Diamond Trust Bank
  6. Ecobank
  7. I&M Bank
  8. Housing Finance
  9. CFC Stanbic Bank
  10. Bank of India
  11. NIC Bank
  12. Prime Bank
  13. Bank of Baroda
  14. Guaranty Trust Bank

Tier 3 Banks in Kenya

CBA’s last tier of commercial banks in Kenya is Tier 3 which are believed to control close to 8.4% of the total market share. They comprise of:

  1. Fidelity Bank
  2. Development Bank
  3. Paramount Universal Bank
  4. ABC Bank
  5. Jamii Bora Bank
  6. Consolidated and Development Bank
  7. Credit Bank
  8. Equatorial Commercial Bank
  9. Guardian Bank
  10. Victoria Bank
  11. Middle East Bank
  12. Giro Bank
  13. Oriental Commercial Bank
  14. Trans-National Bank
  15. Habib Bank
  16. First Community Bank
  17. UBA Bank
  18. Gulf Bank
  19. Habib A.G Zurich Bank
  20. Sidian Bank
  21. Consolidated Bank

References on Banks in Kenya


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