Equity has been named the best regional bank in East Africa by the 2021 African Banker Awards. The award was conferred to the bank for its strong and consistent financial performance, its role in leading the disruption of fintech innovations in banking and for its consistency in championing the socio-economic development of communities through its social impact initiatives.
The African Banker Awards had earlier nominated Equity in two additional award categories including the Group managing director and chief executive officer, Dr. James Mwangi as the African Banker of the Year for his stewardship in democratising access to finance, adopting a twin-engine business model that socially and economically drives the bank’s championing of shared prosperity and for its adoption of a high- volume, low-margin business model.
Equity was also nominated for the best bank in financial inclusion award category for its commendable role in delivering financial products and services to various people in the society, including those at the bottom of the pyramid. The bank was cited for its contribution in providing financial services and its active role in driving economic growth in the larger East African region.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Equity has demonstrated strong and consistent financial performance in all of its subsidiary countries with improvements in revenue, profits, capital, assets and market share. Notably, in the full year 2020 results, the group weathered the Covid-19 disruption to register a 51% growth in its balance sheet with total assets growing to USD 9.48 billion up from USD 6.73 in 2019.
In terms of quality assessment, Equity remarkably opted to safeguard and cushion the lives of staff, customers and host communities by supporting lives and livelihoods. The bank has demonstrated relentless dedication to its customers throughout the pandemic by supporting sectors that have traditionally been marginalized, which include youth, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and women-led businesses through financial literacy programmes and financing.
Commenting on the award, Dr. Mwangi stated: “We are honoured and humbled to receive this recognition. This is a testament to the success of our digital strategy and regional presence as we continue to drive financial integration, inclusive banking and to play a catalytic role in championing the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa.” Over the years, Equity has demonstrated excellence in the region’s banking industry by reaching out to new customer segments through service diversification and financial inclusion. It has also integrated the unbanked into the banking space through the adoption of new technologies, thus contributing to a stronger financial sector in the East and Central Africa region.