Equity continues to entrench its core mission to empower customers to achieve their dreams and expand opportunities for wealth creation

Tuesday December 3 2019

Equity Bank Group Managing Director and CEO James Mwangi.

Equity Bank Group Managing Director and CEO James Mwangi. PHOTO | FILE 

Equity Group continues to propel its mission through integrated financial services that socially and economically empower consumers, businesses, enterprises and communities across the region.

The banking sector continues to play a crucial role in boosting financial integration in the East Africa Community. This is mainly by adopting a regional business model driven by various factors including customer-demand, technology and opportunities for banks to expand within the trade corridors.

Equity continues to entrench its core mission to empower customers to achieve their dreams and expand opportunities for wealth creation. The use of Fintech innovation and digitisation and the agent model have been instrumental in driving formal financial inclusion, and thus poverty reduction, throughout the region.

The Group’s approach to transforming lives is hinged on a sustainable social and economic empowerment model that works towards enabling individuals to attain self-sustenance. It is this need that saw the establishment of the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) in 2008.

In its 11 years of existence, EGF has provided entrepreneurship training, advice, and mentorship to over 45,000 micro, small and medium sized enterprises. The medium and small enterprises comprise 74 per cent of Equity Bank’s market segmentation, meaning the bank’s empowerment programmes are at the centre of East African livelihoods. Additionally, EGF has provided financial training to close to two million women and youths in Kenya, who have subsequently been able to access Ksh36 million in credit and mobilised over Ksh2.4 billion in savings.

In Tanzania, under Fanikisha Plus project, EGF has trained over 42,000 individuals, and, in Uganda, under the SACCO project, another 10,000 youths and women have benefited from the training.

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In a bid to respond to customers’ emerging needs, aspirations and preferences, and add value, the bank has made intermediations to improve financial capabilities through strategic partnerships with various regional and global entities. This is in line with the demand for services that continue to evolve in tandem with the changing lifestyles and creating new bridges of opportunity for East Africans, their business and enterprises. Agriculture is the mainstay of many individuals in East Africa and the continent at large, with over 75 per cent of the population eking out a living from the sector. EGF has assisted in creating jobs, improving market access and expanding agricultural production for farmers. Thus far, the programme has supported 638,000 small scale peasant farmers who have been transformed to agribusiness entrepreneurs with 31,000 of them being medium sized farmers. To date, over Ksh200 million has been accessed in loans by these farmers.

As part of the strategy to be more financially inclusive, it has made interventions to reach out to vulnerable populations, an initiative geared towards having refugee families become more self-reliant and productive members of the society, and contribute to economic development. Equity is currently working with the other partners to design new savings and microcredit programmes to scale up the efforts.

As an integrated financial service provider, over the years the bank has received both local and global accolades for its unique and transformational financial model. Equity is also credited for taking banking services to the people through its accessible, affordable and flexible service provision.

In the region, Equity operates in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda with plans to increase its footprint in Tanzania. The bank also has operations in South Sudan as well as Democratic Republic of Congo, and has recently opened a commercial representative office in Ethiopia with further plans to expand in Mozambique and Zambia.