A strong shilling helped the Central Bank of Kenya to bounce back from a Sh4.6 billion loss in 2016 to post a net profit of Sh17 billion last year.
This makes the lender of last resort one of the most profitable banks in the country, only second to Kenya Commercial Bank, the biggest commercial lender by assets that made Sh19 billion over a similar period.
“The bank recorded a net surplus of Sh17,050 million compared to a net deficit of Sh4,640 million in the financial year ended June 30, 2016. The surplus has been added to the General Reserve Fund,” said CBK in its annual financial report.
According the 2017 audited financial statements and accounts, the commercial banks' regulator's revenues came mostly from interests, raking in Sh14.4 billion last year, down from Sh15.9 billion in 2016.
The money came from government securities, loans to other banks and its staff, and the overdraft facility to the Government.
CBK benefited largely from commercial lenders that became heavily reliant on it for survival two years after Chase Bank was put in receivership.
Cash-strapped banks sold Sh10 billion worth of bonds back to the Central Bank in return for cash as a result of liquidity pressures.
More lenders also approached the apex bank for help as the bank of last resort under the facility created when Chase Bank went under.
By June last year, CBK had given out Sh7.5 billion under the liquidity support framework, up from Sh6.4 billion the previous year.