Equity Bank has announced that Ksh. 66.6 billion in diaspora remittances has gone through the bank in the first half of 2019. This is a growth of 28% from the Ksh. 52.2 billion that was reported in the same period in 2018.
The bank received more than 50% of all the country’s diaspora remittances largely due to its fintech products. Diaspora commission grew to Ksh. 398 million during the six-month period from Ksh. 383 million recorded during a similar period in 2018.
Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi while releasing the half year results said the increase was a result of a strategic decision to make diaspora remittances affordable.
“The volume is growing at 28% and the commission is growing at 4%. This implies that we are taking advantage of the high volume to reduce and pass the benefits to the customer and making diaspora remittance much cheaper,” said Dr. Mwangi.
In 2018, diaspora remittances increased by threefold to Ksh. 108 billion and income generated from the same rose by 169% to stand at Ksh. 751 million. This was due to increased strategic partnership with payment partners that included PayPal, Equity Direct, Western Union, MoneyGram, Wave and Swift.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has, for instance, identified the ease of sending money back home as a major factor in the sharp growth of Kenyan remittances. This has made the remittances to rise becoming the biggest source of foreign exchange, ahead of tourism, tea, coffee and horticulture export. CBK data shows that the 12-month cumulative inflows to June 2019 increased to USD 2,768 million (Ksh. 276.8 billion) compared to the 12 months to June 2018, reflecting a 13.6% growth.