Relationship between Board Composition and performance of Commercial Banks in Kenya

Joshua Wepukhulu Matanda, Oyugi Luke, Josephat, Lishenga Lisiolo


Commercial banks play a critical role in mobilization of resources from surplus to deficit units required to foster economic growth and development especially in developing countries. Although, in quite a number of these countries the need for development of sound corporate governance has been recognized as critical in enhancing stability in the banking sector, research on the links between governance at firm level and corporate performance in commercial banks has been scanty. This paper has explored this issue, paying particular attention on the relationship between corporate board independence and  the performance of commercial banks in Kenya for the period spanning 2001 to 2013. A period within which Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) issued three prudential guidelines on corporate governance that all commercial banks operating in Kenya must adhere to.

Primary data for the study was obtained from 33 of the 43 commercial banks in Kenya by way of questionnaire administration, whereas secondary data was obtained from: annual published accounts, Nairobi Stock Exchange Publications, returns filed to the Registrar of companies at the Attorney General Chambers Nairobi, individual banks websites and Central Bank of Kenya website. Bank performance was defined by three key performance variables namely: ROA (Return on asset), ROE (Return on equity) and TBQ ratio (Tobin’s Q ratio); that are: financial, accounting and market measures of performance respectively. Bank size was adopted in the study as a moderating variable to capture bank specific characteristics. The data collected was analyzed using hierarchical regression under the panel data framework using SPSS 21.0 version. The key results indicated that board composition was not significant in the relationship between board composition and performance of commercial banks in Kenya. The results further indicated that there was no linear relationship between board composition and the TBQ ratio of commercial banks in Kenya when bank specific characteristics were excluded. Therefore if commercial banks in Kenya are to improve their performance they should direct their efforts towards other variables other than board composition.

Keywords and abbreviations: Board composition, Banks performance, Corporate Governance, Central Bank of Kenya.

V.I.F. is Variance inflation factor, ROE is return on equity, ROA is return on asset, and TBQ ratio is Tobin’s Q ratio

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