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Equity Bank continues to shine; named ‘Africa’s Best Bank for SMEs’

In Summary

  • Latest award adds on to its rich trophy cabinet.
  • Last year, the bank scooped three awards in the Euromoney Awards.

Equity Bank has been named Africa’s best bank for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the 2021 Euromoney awards. This distinction further validates Equity as the country’s preferred bank by SMEs.   

While acknowledging this recognition, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi, said the award reinforced the Bank’s vision of championing the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa.

“With support from various partners, Equity Group has positioned itself to support SMEs to keep their lights on during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed down the economy and negatively impacted the cash flows of enterprises,” said Dr Mwangi.

“By extending credit to them during the period, Equity demonstrated its commitment to walking the journey with its customers, and its empathy with their socio-economic situation brought about by the pandemic.”

Despite the heavy impact of the pandemic, Equity increased its lending to SMEs, which by the close of 2020 stood at 51% of the total loan book. With a key focus on priority areas aligned to achieving Kenya’s Big 4 agenda, Equity prioritised on financing SMEs in agriculture, manufacturing, household and value-chain banking and health sector.

MSMEs often face a host of growth challenges including managing and enabling financial transactions, access to credit, and expanding their reach.

Equity’s Mission

In line with Equity’s mission of offering integrated financial services that socially and economically empower consumers and businesses, the bank provided customized cash flow-based lending and asset-based lending solutions with flexible repayment terms, extended moratorium periods and the ability to take a variety of collaterals. 

First lady Margaret Kenyatta TV47
Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta admires fabric designs from an entrepreneur at a past expo. The bank provides services to more than 800,000 entrepreneurs. PHOTO/FILE

The bank accommodated customer loans up to KSh171 billion, giving them reprieve and flexibility to adjust their business model. Loan offering includes Working capital, Term Loans, Overdrafts, Asset and Equipment Financing Mortgages, Project finance among others. To facilitate trade internationally and locally Equity offers a wide range of trade finance products such as Letters of Credit, Guarantees, Post Import Finance, Avalisation, and Commodity Finance.

This keen focus has seen Equity recognized as the Best Bank in Africa for SMEs– by the IFC SME Finance Forum for three consecutive years since 2018; Best Bank in SME banking for two years running -Think Business Awards, and the Best Bank in Retail, CSR and Digital Service– Banker Africa, East Africa Awards 2017. Equity provides banking services to more than 800,000 SMEs through its 190 countrywide branch network in Kenya and on its digital channels.

Euromoney Awards -History

The Euromoney Awards for Excellence were established in 1992 and were the first of their kind in the global banking industry. This year, Euromoney received almost 1,000 submissions from banks in their regional and country awards Programme that covers more than 50 regional awards and Best Bank awards in close to 100 countries.

Last year, Equity received three Euromoney awards: Best Bank in Africa, Best Digital Bank and Excellence in Leadership.


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