Equity Group has reported giving out 30% more loans than the previous year, as it supports companies seeking new opportunities as they recover from the COVID-19 lockdown.
This has been possible as customer deposits grew from Kshs478 billion ($4 billion) to Kshs 691 billion ($6.3billion), driven by 51% growth in Uganda. There was a 21% growth in Kenya and an additional Kshs130 billion from the acquisition of BCDC in DRC.
While releasing the results for Q3 2020 in Nairobi today, Dr. James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO said, “We grew our loan book by 30% year on year in order to support our customers who saw opportunities of green shoots and diversification in the COVID-19 environment. Most of the new opportunities we funded were in manufacturing of PPE’s, logistics, online businesses, agro- processing, fast moving consumer goods and agriculture value chains.”
In a statement, Equity stated that execution of Equity Group’s twin strategy of being defensive and offensive has proven to be effective despite the challenging environment.
Loans to customers grew by 30% driven by 37% growth in Uganda, 19% growth by Equity Bank Congo, 15% growth in Rwanda, 15% growth in Kenya and an additional Kshs 48.5 billion from the acquisition of BCDC in DRC.
The growth in capital weighted loan book and capital geared customer deposits was on the back of a 27% growth in shareholders’ funds following withdrawal of Equity Group Holdings’ 2019 dividend payout. The balance sheet of the Group grew by 38% from Kshs 677.1 billion to reach Kshs 934 billion.
Equity also revealed in the quarterly report that their regional expansion and business diversification efforts have reduced dependence on Kenya for Group performance making the Group truly a regional financial services provider. Regional subsidiaries now contribute 40% of customer deposits, 39% of Group total assets, 33% of the loan book, 30% of the Group’s revenue and 25% of the Group’s profit before tax.
In its defensive strategy, Equity has worked to support the larger society, communities and customers to weather and mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19, Equity Group boosted government efforts of containing the pandemic by:
- Waiving fees on mobile banking transactions to discourage the use of cash while incentivizing the use of digital channels;
- Utilizing the expertise of Equity Afia medical team to screen body temperature of customers and staff accessing physical premises including bank branches while supporting COVID-19 health education;
- Leading nationwide initiatives to safeguard frontline health workers through the provision of PPEs and mental wellness and psychosocial support training by the Equity Group Foundation at a cost of Kshs1.3 billion.
- Providing loan repayment accommodation and rescheduling for up to 45% of the customers whose cashflows were deemed likely to be negatively impacted by government set COVID-19 containment measures.
- Supporting staff to cope with the challenges associated with COVID-19 while maintaining a conducive working environment to comply with health protocols and offering choice of working from home were possible.
“We are focused on increasing the chances of our customers surviving the COVID-19 challenges, transforming themselves by walking with them and hand-holding them with our knowledge, skills and Group resources. During these extra-ordinary times our performance measures has changed from numbers to lives and livelihoods supported, changed, enhanced and transformed,” concluded Dr. Mwangi”.