• In Kenya there are a total of 40 commercial banks, 73 foreign exchange bureaus, 19 money remittance providers and 3 credit reference bureaus.
  • Central bank of Kenya (CBK) is the lender of last resort in Kenya and is the banker to all other banks.
  • In the last five years, Kenyan Banks have realised tremendous growth and have expanded to the East African region.

The Kenyan banking sector is one of the most rigorous sectors in the country, East Africa and Africa at large.

In Kenya there are a total of 40 commercial banks, with Charterhouse Bank under statutory management and Imperial Bank under receivership, 1 mortgage finance company, 13 microfinance banks, 9 representative offices of foreign banks, 73 foreign exchange bureaus, 19 money remittance providers and 3 credit reference bureaus.

Central Bank of Kenya headquarters in Nairobi. Central Bank of Kenya headquarters in Nairobi.

Central bank of Kenya (CBK) is the lender of last resort in Kenya and is the banker to all other banks. CBK is tasked with formulating and implementation of monetary and fiscal policies.

Central Bank Governor, Patrick Njoroge, who was appointed in 2015, forecasts the Kenyan economy to grow by 6.3% in 2019 driven by robust expansion in the agriculture sector despite the recent Dusit terror attack.

“in the immediate aftermath of the January 15 terrorist attack, there were concerns, but when the response was seen as swift and appropriate, the response was resilient. The forex and securities markets were stable or, in some cases, even strengthened,” said Njoroge on January following a Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge

In the last five years, led by their smart CEOs who keep changing the game by rolling out smart products e.g mobile banking, video banking services, Kenyan Banks have realised tremendous growth and have expanded to the East African region. Nine Kenyan banks have ventured beyond the country’s borders, with a few like Equity Group, I&M Bank and Prime Bank expanding beyond EAC boundaries to DR Congo, Malawi and Botswana.

Some markets, particularly South Sudan and Burundi, have, however, proved volatile due to insecurity.

Co-operative Bank of Kenya Co-operative Bank of Kenya

Currently only Kenya’s KCB Group, Equity Group and Co-operative Bank of Kenya operate in South Sudan.

The banking industry in Kenya has also involved itself in automation, moving from traditional banking to better meet the growing complex needs of its customer and globalisation challenges.

Customers queue for service at the Kenya Commercial Bank Customers queue for service at the Kenya Commercial Bank

Financial inclusion in Kenya has continued to rise, with the percentage of the population living within 3 kilometres of a financial services access point rising to 77.0% in 2017 from 59.0% in 2013. This has been driven by digitization, with Mobile Financial Services (MFS) rising to be the preferred method to access financial services in 2016.

Some of the challenges the sector continue to face includes; policy uncertainty and new regulation such as capping of interest rates which came into force on September 14, 2016 setting bounds on lending and deposit rates. The new law sets the maximum lending rate at no more than four per cent above the Central Bank base rate, and the minimum interest rate granted on a deposit held in interest-earning accounts with commercial banks to at least seventy per cent of the same rate.

Ecobank Towers in Nairobi's Central Business District. Ecobank Towers in Nairobi's Central Business District.

Increasing cyber-attacks, terrorism and global financial crises also remain a constant threat to the banking sector.

Considering that, here are the 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya in no particular order. The visibility of these banks have since translated to their CEOs being popular too.

Joshua Oigara

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Joshua Oigara is the chief executive officer of Kenya’s biggest bank by assets, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

At age 37, his appointment in November 2012 to replace the outgoing CEO Martin Oduor-Otieno made him the youngest CEO of a publicly traded bank at the NSE.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB). Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of Nairobi and Master of Business Administration from Edith Cowan University and a host of other qualifications.

Jeremy Ngunze

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Jeremy is the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya’s largest privately-owned bank, Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) Kenya.

He is tasked with overall responsibility for the bank in Kenya in terms of governance, performance management, client relationships, advisory business and human resource management.

Commercial Bank of Africa Commercial Bank of Africa

Jeremy has had wide experience in the banking industry spanning over 28 years, with rich exposure in Corporate, Consumer and SME Banking. He worked with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) for 18 years, where he held various top management positions in Africa and Asia regions, prior to joining CBA.

James Mwangi

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Equity Bank CEO Dr James Mwangi is one of Kenya’s most forward-looking bank.

Dr. Mwangi is also on the Global Advisory Council of VISA, in addition to serving as the current chairman of the Vision 2030 Delivery Board.

He also served on the Clinton Global Initiative, the G8 New Alliance for Food Security & Nutrition and the Global Agenda Council on New Economic Thinking of the World Economic Forum.

Equity Bank Group Equity Bank Group

He is a guest lecturer at Lagos business school, MIT, Harvard, Columbia, IESE, and Stanford where the Equity Bank model is a case study. He is also the Chancellor of Meru University College of Science and Technology. Recently, he was also appointed as an IFC Economic Advisor.

Mr. Mwangi was recently appointed to the Columbia Global Centers-Nairobi Advisory Board.

Gideon Muriuki

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Co-operative Bank chief executive, Gideon Muriuki is one of the executives in the country’s public listed companies.

Co-op Bank says in its annual report that it paid Mr Muriuki a total of Sh370 million ($3.7m) in the year ended December 2017 -- Sh99.8 million in salary and allowances before crowning it all with a Sh270.7 million ($2.71m) bonus.

Co-operative bank Co-operative bank

The lender cited Mr Muriuki’s long service and his role in turning around the bank from a loss-making operation to one of the country’s biggest lenders as the yardstick for the fat remuneration.

A year after being hired, the lender reported its first net profit of Sh164.7 million ($1.65m) in 2002.

Hope Murera

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Mrs. Murera is the CEO and Managing Director at Zep-Re (PTA Reinsurance Company).

ZEP-RE is a specialised institution of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa created under the charter. The Company is currently headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

“I have been in this organization for 16 years now and before that, I was the working with the National Insurance companies in Rwanda before I joined Zep-Re (PTA Reinsurance Company) and I moved through the ranks to this point today,” Mrs Murera told Business Insider.

Zep-Ke (PTA Reinsurance Company) tower in Nairobi,Kenya Zep-Ke (PTA Reinsurance Company) tower in Nairobi,Kenya

She holds a law degree from Makerere University which explains her undying passion for legal thrillers which she can’t get enough off.

While not working, Mrs Murera loves to read, travel and take nature walks.

Some of his popular legal thrillers include; A time to Kill, The Roaster Bar, Skipping Christmas, The Reckoning, Camino Island, Rogue Lawyer and The broker to mentioned just a few.

Jeremy Awori

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya. Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya.

Mr Jeremy Awori is CEO of Barclays Bank of Kenya, which is part of Absa Group Limited.

Barclays is going through the transition from Barclays to Absa but currently it is still known as Barclays Kenya.

Mr. Awori became a banker by accident after graduating from Mcgill University with an MBA in Finance in 1996. He traveled back to Kenya for a brief holiday before going back to the United Kingdom and by chance, he met the Standard Chartered CEO back then who offered him a job despite his lack of experience in banking. His hard work and diligence saw him promoted to become the Executive Director, Consumer Banking in 1999.

Barclays Africa rebrands to ABSA Barclays Africa rebrands to ABSA

He is an avid swimmer having started swimming competitively at the age of 9 years. He went on to represent Kenya in various tournaments across the world which gave him a chance to travel and see the world.

Symon Kamore

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Mr. Kamore has risen through the ranks to become the CEO of SMEP Microfinance Bank.

He holds a Masters degree in Business Administration double major in Strategic Management and Finance, Certified Public Accountant (K), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – ISACA, Bachelor of Education in Sciences.

SMEP Microfinance Bank. SMEP Microfinance Bank.

Mr. Kamore has also attended various specialised training, among them Taxation and Strategic Leadership of Microfinance Institutions (Harvard Business School).

When he is not buried deep at work he loves to blow steam listening to Jazz music.

Mrs Nasim Devji

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Mrs. Devji joined the DTB Group in 1996 following her appointment as Group Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Trust Banks in East Africa in 2001.

Diamond Trust Bank Diamond Trust Bank

She is a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, an Associate of the Institute of Taxation (United Kingdom) and a Fellow of the Kenya Institute of Bankers.

Dr. Jennifer Riria

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Dr. Riria is the Group CEO of Kenya Women Microfinance Bank and one of Africa's leading women entrepreneurs.

In 1981 together with a group of professional women from different professions namely lawyers, bankers, financial experts, entrepreneurs and trainers,  Riria founded the bank with the sole aim of providing financial services exclusively to address the financial and non-financial needs of the women in Kenya.

Kenya Women Microfinance Bank Kenya Women Microfinance Bank

From humble beginnings of just two offices in Karatina and Kilifi town, Kenya Women Microfinance Bank has grown to be the leading and the largest Microfinance Bank in Kenya today.

Lamin Manjang

Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya Top 10 Coolest Bank CEOs in Kenya

Lamin Manjang is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank.

He has over 15 years of banking experience with Standard Chartered Bank across Africa and the Middle East. Mr Manjang was appointed to the head Standard Chartered on 1 March 2014.

Standard Chartered Bank. Standard Chartered Bank.

He says his biggest lesson about money is actually giving it out.

My biggest lesson in money has been in giving. I have observed that the more I give, the more I receive. Saving is an addition, but giving is multiplication. You should not be mean and miserly, but instead, you ought to help others whenever you can.”