Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

African Banks - Internationalisation?

African banks are rather small (assets or capitalisation) compared to their international peers. 

The only countries with banks of 'decent' size are either S.African (S.Africa proper), N.African (Egypt, Morocco) or W.African (Ecobank & Nigerian banks).

But as we have seen... size does not matter. After all Bank of America & Citibank are among the largest banks in the USA. And we have Lloyds & HBOS in the UK. All are in trouble.

I expect the large 'international' US banks e.g. Citigroup & BofA will shrink or sell their foreign operations over the next few years to raise cash to pay off debts.

West European 'international' banks are also feeling the hurt including Barclays & UBS.  Many French, German & Swiss banks are also hurting.

HSBC & Standard Chartered may survive the current problems but in my view they are really Asian (Chinese & Hong Kong) banks.

Now... I think that most African banks will weather the storm. And grow from strength to strength.
Whereas all do not (& cannot) have ambitions to become '' international" banks... I think a few will do so over the next 5 years. And become much stronger. Standard Bank of S. Africa (Stanbic) is moving into other markets by buying out small to mid-sized banks.

I remain a sceptic of Nigerian banks. They have tried to expand but I do NOT trust their balance sheets.

A major factor that will push internationalization of African banks is the return of diasporans with the relevant expertise.

All said and done... I do hope that African banks can reach all parts of Africa. And provide a product to all Africans - whatever their socio-economic status.

Mobile Payment Systems & Mobile Funds Transfer systems have already penetrated huge swathes of the cash transfer market.


just what? said...

for the Acer laptops & netbooks, try Office Mart on kenyatta avenue, right at the 680 hotel building - they seem to be the only authorised dealers in town

coldtusker said...

Just What: Thanks! If it makes sense... I want to get it instead of lugging a full-blown laptop around.

Also if it gets stolen... not that much pain!

Anonymous said...

HSBC was founded in HK but its for all intents and purposes considered a British bank, it remains one of the few profitable banks (£3bn+ net in '08) even after writing down close to $20bn for part of its US business in the latest quarter, and its currently the world's largest bank at the moment. Doubt over survival shouldn't arise.

HSBC Holdings plc 2008 Final Results - Highlights