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Equity Bank in SME advisory deal with IFC

James Mwangi
Equity Bank Group MD James Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is offering technical advisory services to Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY with the aim of helping the lender to better serve its base of small and medium-sized (SME) customers.

The institution did not disclose the cost of the advisory project which will also see the development of new products and services for SMEs.

“This is a banking advisory services project with Equity Bank Kenya Ltd and is designed to increase Equity Bank efficiency to serve its SME customers,” IFC said in a statement.

“The IFC Advisory Service will assist the Bank design and deliver an efficient SME business model, improve SME credit related processes and train staff to effectively serve the targeted SME segments.”

The international financier noted that Equity is already the country’s leading SME bank, with the segment comprising close to 60 per cent of the bank’s loan portfolio. The lender has 10 million customers in Kenya alone.

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“Equity Bank is well placed to deliver additional products and services to its SME customers given its country-wide coverage through a network of 177 branches and over 32,000 agents, and its innovative digital channels,” IFC said. Equity becomes the latest local bank to benefit from IFC’s technical advisory services.

Co-op Bank #ticker:COOP is also currently getting IFC’s input in a Sh243.6 million deal to help the lender expand its digital banking services.

The lender is among local banks that are investing heavily in internet, mobile and agency banking to cut costs and enhance their customer service.

Co-op Bank says it 10,000 agents and 79,218 internet banking customers. It has disbursed more than 700,000 loans through the digital channels.

Expansion of digital banking services has allowed banks to close some of their brick-and-mortar branches and lay off staff. IFC has leveraged its existing lending relationships with Kenyan banks to offer them the advisory services.

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