Equity tops East African banking rivals


Equity Group headquarters in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO | NMG

Equity Bank Group has been named the top lender in the region by capitalisation, reflecting the room it has to fund businesses.

The ranking by African Business, based on the tier-one capital buffer, has placed Equity ahead of its rivals in East Africa.

The lender’s stock of $1.558 million (Sh188.52 billion) in capital, retained earnings and cash reserves last year has placed it in position 24 in Africa, according to East Africa’s Top Banks 2022 survey findings.

Equity has been ranked ahead of its main competitor KCB Group with a capital base of $1.233 million (Sh149.19 billion) and Ethiopia Commercial Bank’s $929 million (Sh112.41 billion).

“One key indicator of the weakness of the Eastern African banking sector is the fact that the size of capital needed to secure the final position in our regional Top 20 is the lowest of all the other regions at $159 million,” authors of the report wrote.

“For Kenyan banks at least, more rapid bank growth could come from the resumption of their expansion into other markets.”

Tier-one capital is used as a gauge of a bank’s ability to fund the business activities of its clients.

Equity, the largest lender by market share, earlier this year launched Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan, a socio-economic transformation programme, with $7 billion (Sh847 billion) funding aimed at reaching five million micro, small and medium enterprises and 25 million individual customers in the continent.

The lender is this week hosting investors from the US who are scouting for investments in the East African Community bloc.

The US trade mission will engage more than 500 local entrepreneurs, micro- and small-sized enterprises as well as corporations through one-on-one business networking sessions, panel discussions and site visits.

“Our interactions during this trade mission are critical as this will enhance knowledge exchange enabling us to meet the needs of the immediate market and the global trends in consumer behaviour,” said Equity Group CEO James Mwangi in a statement.

The US delegates are keen on partnering with local businesses to either set up shop in Kenya or sign export-import agreements.

Mr Mwangi cited health, food, real estate, agriculture, construction and education as among sectors with “endless opportunities” for investments.

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