Equity Bank, Kenya’s leading lender by market value, has announced impressive numbers with its Rwanda subsidiary – in a sector with growing stiff competition.

The Bank’s CEO, James Mwangi said yesterday that the bank has registered about a quarter million subscribers in just 24 months, indicating an underserved market with boundless potential.

“This is a huge step ahead,” Mwangi told journalists shortly after meeting President Kagame in Kigali.

With a US$30million initial capital investment, as of mid-July 2014, the bank had registered 350,000 clients, thanks to a successful retail banking approach that has seen the bank rollout more than 700 agents pinpointed across the country.

The agent footprint has given the bank a muscle to conduct about 10,000 transactions a day.

Mwangi, who was escorted by 20 senior executives, was on a strategic mission of seeking a clear picture against which the bank will lay a robust investment plan to boost its market share.

He also announced the bank will inject extra funds to raise its lending capacity up US$150 million (Rwf105 billion)in a bid to increase its market share.

In addition to the increased lending portfolio, the Bank says it will intends to invest more in technological driven products such as ATMs, Mobile Banking, Credit cards, especially for the rural folks.

“We have delivered on the promises particularly on the payment systems by installing Master Card, American express, JCB of Japan and China Union pay cards,”Mwangi said. “And we have delivered on banking services to the people in the villages by using the agency banking model.”

Meanwhile, the Equity is the only bank issuing ATM cards instantly.  Some of the cards issued includeEuropay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV),American Express, JCB of Japan and China Union pay cards.

Rwanda’s Finance Minister ClaverGatete says the bank’s investment into tech-driven products contributes to the country’s ambistion of creating a cash-less economy and lowering interest rates.

Equity Bank Group is valued at over US$3.45 billion with a total customer base in excess of 8.7 million on its Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan network.

 

By Dan Ngabonziza