Regional banking group, Equity Bank ongoing focus on product innovation, prudent cost and risk management have paid off with a 21 percent growth in profits before tax in the first quarter ending March 310st 2013.
The Group posted a profit before tax of Kshs 4.52 billion up from Kshs 3.73 billion posted during a similar period in 2012.
Equity Bank Group’s profits after tax jumped 22 percent to Kshs 3.21 billion from Kshs 2.63 billion posted within the same period last year.
Despite a challenging business environment characterized by uncertainty from the recent general elections and falling interest rates, prudent cost and risk management saw Equity Bank’s total income rise by 13 percent to Kshs 10.20 billion from Kshs 9.01 billion, posted during a similar period in 2012.
The total operating expenses rose to Kshs 5.73 billion from Kshs 5.31 billion for the period under review, an 8% increase.
Equity Bank’s total assets grew by 21 percent during the period to close at KShs 252.2 billion in March 2013 compared with Kshs 208.9 billion as at 31March 2012.
Net Loans and advances grew by 15 percent to Kshs 139.5 billion from Kshs 121.1 billion advanced during the same period last year. The Net interest income also increased to Kshs 6.87 billion, from the previous year’s Kshs 5.69 billion, a 21% increase.
Customer deposits grew by 14 percent to close at Kshs 175.3 billion up from Kshs 153.7 billion during the same period last year. The bank’s customer base grew by more than 200,000 to over 8.0 million up from 7.8 million a year ago making the bank the largest Bank in customer base in Africa.
Commenting on the results during an investor briefing, Equity Bank Group, CEO and Managing Director, Dr. James Mwangi said the bank will continue to focus on innovation, new market segments and growing the networks to sustain growth.
“Diversification of the bank’s portfolio along with strategic global and local partnerships, regional expansion and increase in the number of Equity Bank agents will drive growth and deepen the bank’s penetration into the market,” Dr. Mwangi said.
The bank’s long term borrowings funds increased by 66 percent to Kshs 24.7 billion up from Kshs 14.8 billion on the back of an enhanced global rating for the bank.
In September 2012, the bank was awarded the Global Credit Rating: long term AA- and short term A1+. The interpretation of this rating is that the bank has the highest certainty of timely payment; Short-term liquidity, including internal operating factors and outstanding access to alternative sources of funds and safety that is just below that of risk-free treasury bills.
Dr James Mwangi further stated: “The East African economies are expected to continue benefitting from the stability of interest rates at lower levels than those experienced in the first quarter of 2012. The peaceful elections, improvement in weather conditions, continued prudent macroeconomic and fiscal management will result in improving business confidence. This should see GDP growth in Kenya accelerate to at least 5 percent forecast by the World Bank.”
He also said that strategic growth of SME lending brought about rapid growth in the loan book. The group’s gross non performing portfolio stood at 5.1 percent with a coverage ratio of 56 percent.
The Bank continues to strengthen its unique business model through innovation, enhanced use of technology and automation for a better customer experience.
Equity Bank was recently ranked as the best bank in Kenya in a survey conducted by the authoritative Think Business magazine.
Equity Bank Group recently launched a partnership with Google to introduce BebaPay into the market - a payment card which will provide a quick and convenient way to pay for bus fare.
In a bid to extend financial inclusion in the East African region, Equity Bank in collaboration with MasterCard Worldwide recently introduced Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) technology and PayPass™ Enabled Debit and Prepaid Cards in Kenya.
Equity Bank was recently ranked as the 2013 Overall Best Bank in Kenya, Best Bank tier 1 and the most customer friendly in terms of affordability in a survey conducted by the authoritative Think Business magazine.
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