Spire Bank, formerly known as Equatorial Commercial Bank (ECB), is a commercial bank in Kenya, the largest economy in the East African Community. It is licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, the central bank and national banking regulator.
The bank is a medium-sized financial institution in Kenya, serving corporate clients, small and medium enterprises and individuals. As of December 2013, the bank’s total assets were valued at about US$180 million (KES:15.562 billion), with shareholders’ equity valued at about US$16 million (KES:1.371 billion). At that time, the bank was ranked number 27, by assets, out of 43 banks licensed in Kenya. The company has a 20% investment in Equatorial Investment Bank Limited and 23.86% in Fidelity Shield Insurance Company Limited which have been accounted for as associate companies in the consolidated financial statements.
History of SpireBank
Established as an Equatorial Finance Company in 1983, Due to change in regulation, Equatorial Finance Company was converted to Equatorial Commercial Bank Limited and commenced operations as a fully-fledged commercial bank in June 1995.
In June 2010 Equatorial Commercial Bank (ECB) merged with Southern Credit Banking Corporation (SCBC), creating a new enlarged bank under the Equatorial Commercial Bank brand. The Merger was aimed at enabling the banks meet the Central Bank of Kenya requirement for commercial banks shore up their core capital to at least KES:1 billion (approximately US$12 million).
The Equatorial Commercial Bank – Southern Credit Banking Corporation merger transaction was structured in the following four interlinked phases:
- ECB implemented a KES:264 million (approximately US$3.1 million) rights issue to increase its authorized and issued share capital in order to meet the capital adequacy requirements of the merged bank.
- By way of a share swap agreement, ECB acquired the full shareholding in SCBC, in exchange for its own shares thereby making SCBC a wholly owned subsidiary of ECB. SCBC shareholders received 11.25% of the issued share capital of ECB.
- ECB (now the parent company) and SCBC (the subsidiary) then executed an Asset and Portfolio (Business) Agreement to transfer all of ECB’s banking business, assets and liabilities to SCBC who paid a fair consideration through the creation of new shares.
- SCBC (the subsidiary) adopted the name Equatorial Commercial Bank Limited and retained the joint banking business while the former ECB (the parent) returned its banking licence to the Central Bank of Kenya for cancellation and changed its name to Equatorial Holding Limited to become a non-operating holding company of the merged bank. All future subsidiaries and associate companies would be held by Equatorial Holding Limited.
The merger transaction consideration was entirely satisfied by the issue of shares and there was no cash transaction
In September 2014, Mwalimu Cooperative Savings & Credit Society Limited, Kenya’s largest Sacco by assets, made a bid to acquire 51% shareholding in Equatorial Commercial Bank in a deal valued at KES:1.7 billion (approximately USD:18 million). This move was in line with the strategic objective of the society of expanding business opportunities. The acquisition, was to enable the Sacco to collect deposits from beyond its membership, access funds at lower rates, venture into trade finance and offer its members ATM services. The deal was concluded at the end of 2014 and in 2015, the Sacco acquired another 24 percent shareholding, bringing its ownership to 75 percent.
In July 2016, the bank was rebranded to Spire Bank.
Spire Bank Ownership
Prior to December 2014, As of August 2014, Naushad Merali of Sameer Group owned 85% of the bank’s stock, with other entities owning the remaining 15%. In order to comply with Central Bank of Kenya directives, the bank began exploring ways to sell shares to outside investors and reduce the shareholding of the largest individual shareholder to 25% or less.
The shareholding in the bank stock, as at March 2016, is depicted in the table below:
Spire Bank Stock Ownership
||Mwalimu National Holdings
||Structured Investment Vehicle
In December 2020, The EastAfrican reported that Mwalimu Sacco had concluded the acquisition of the 25 percent shareholding in Spire Bank, that the Sacco did not previously own. The price that Mwalimu paid was not immediately disclosed.
Spire Bank Branch network
As of August 2014, the bank operates a network of branches at the following locations:
- Spire Bank Waiyaki Way Branch – Equatorial Fidelity Centre, Waiyaki Way, Nairobi
- Spire Bank Chester House Branch – Ground Floor, Chester House, Koinange Street, Nairobi
- Spire Bank Westlands Branch – Ground Floor, Westlands Mall, Westlands, Nairobi
- Spire Bank Hurlingham Branch – Priory Place, Argwings Kodhek Road, Nairobi
- Spire Bank Mombasa Road Branch – Sameer Business Park, Mombasa Road, Nairobi
- Spire Bank Industrial Area Branch – Avon Centre, Enterprise Road, Nairobi
- Spire Bank Moi Avenue Branch – Equatorial Commercial Bank Building, Moi Avenue, Mombasa
- Spire Bank Nyali Branch – Nyali Cinemax Complex, Kongowea Road, Nyali
- Spire Bank Kisumu Branch – Harley’s House, Oginga Odinga Street, Kisumu
- Spire Bank Kakamega Branch – Jubilee Ironmongers Building, Canon Awori Road, Kakamega
- Spire Bank Eldoret Branch – Zion Mall, Uganda Road, Eldoret
- Spire Bank Nakuru Branch – Apple House, Nakuru-Nairobi Highway, Nakuru
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