Equity Bank Kenya was awarded Kenya’s top bank for the second year running at the 2019 Financial Times Banker’s Bank of the Year annual awards in London. The award reaffirms the bank’s position as the lender of choice having scored highly after a comprehensive analysis of its earnings, asset and tier one capital growth as well as return on equity. In the last financial year, Equity reported a 4.8% growth in net profit, alongside a9.3 % rise in total assets.
Aside from the financial performance, the judges were also keen on establishing whether the banks were setting new standards in their local industry, embracing innovation and initiating cost effective ways of growing their business.
In Equity Bank’s business model and strategy, innovation and digitization feature very prominently with 97% of transactions being on digital platforms. This allows the bank to transform its cost structure from fixed to variable costs with minimal investments due to use of third party infrastructure.
“Instead of just providing banking services, we provide financial solutions with a business model that is economically viable, socially sound and has become very successful in shared prosperity. One of our key strengths is our investment in capacity building. Empowering society through shared prosperity has given Equity Bank a human face and a soul,” said Dr. James Mwangi, Group CEO and Managing Director Equity Group Holdings.
At the same event, Equity Bank was also recognized as the best bank in Uganda, with the judges being impressed by its stellar financial performance and its customized banking services for the country’s refugee community. The bank has partnered with UN agencies to digitize payments to Uganda’s 1.2 million refugees. This partnership involves the bank opening UN-funded accounts for refugees who use the money to access different services.
While acknowledging the recognition, Samuel Kirubi, Equity Bank Uganda, Managing Director reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to social and economic transformation.
“Equity Uganda has primarily focused on the deployment of innovative financial solutions through world class digital and agency banking channels that enhance financial inclusion and deepen financial access. We have also embraced ecosystem banking and partnerships to grow and widen our reach so as to serve more people,” he said.
Similarly, Equity also clinched the Bank of the Year award in South Sudan. In a market that has been marred by high inflation and currency depreciation, the judges admired Equity Bank South Sudan’s adaptation, managing to trim its non performing loans’ ratio down from 70.5% to 14.3% in 2018. Profits surged by 240% in the same year.
Commenting on the award, Dr. Addis Ababa Othow, Managing Director Equity Bank South Sudan said, “We continue investing in innovation and creation of new distribution and service models that seek to improve efficiency and take banking services closer to the people thereby deepening financial inclusion and broadening access. This is in line with our vision of championing the socio-economic prosperity of our people.”
About Equity Group Holdings Plc
Equity Group Holdings Plc is a financial-services holding company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange, and Rwanda Stock Exchange. In addition to Equity Bank Kenya, the Group has banking subsidiaries in, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania and DRC with additional non-banking subsidiaries engaged in provision of investment banking, custodial, insurance agency, philanthropy, consulting, and infrastructure services.
Equity Group has an asset base of over USD 6 billion. With over 14 million customers, The Group is one of the biggest banks in customer base in the region. The Group has a footprint of 294 branch network, 50,077Agents and 27,576 Merchants. The Group is the largest bank in market capitalization in East and Central Africa. The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2019 ranked Equity Bank 844 overall in its global ranking, 75th in soundness (Capital Assets to Assets ratio), 32nd in terms of Profits on Capital and 15th on Return on Assets. In the same year Moody’s gave the Bank a global rating of B2 with a stable outlook same as the sovereign rating of the Kenyan government due to the Bank’s strong brand recognition, solid liquidity buffers and resilient funding profile, established domestic franchise and extensive adoption of digital and alternative distribution channels.