Equity Bank has won the Global SME Finance Award in the Platinum Category of SME Bank of the Year – Africa, at the  IFC Global SME Finance Awards that were held in the Netherlands.

The award is organized by International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum and endorsed by the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI). The Global SME Finance Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients.

This year’s the award winners were selected from a competitive pool of 144 applicants. A panel of independent judges chose the winners based on their Reach, Uniqueness and Innovation, Effectiveness and Impact, and Dynamism and Scalability.

Currently, the bank’s core offering is geared towards MSMEs growth, with its current MSME loan book standing at 60% of the total loan book of the bank and SME deposits contributing 21.5% to the total bank deposits.

The bank has also trained 45,725 entrepreneurs in partnership with Norfund, International Labour Organisation, MasterCard Foundation and the Lundin Foundation. For micro-entrepreneurs, Equity Group Foundation in partnership with MasterCard Foundation launched the Financial Knowledge for Africa (FiKA) programme in 2010 to deliver quality financial literacy training and advisory services to women and youth throughout Kenya. Since its launch, more than 1.8 million women and youth have been trained in financial literacy and money management skills.

Equity Bank Corporate Banking – SME Associate Director Jeremy Kamau, had this to say, “We are humbled to have received this award. Our purpose is to offer integrated financial services that socially and economically empower consumers, businesses, enterprises and communities. Since Equity Bank started as a small business, we understand the hurdles MSMEs and businesses face, including lack of access to capital and markets and lack of business management knowledge and skills. As a Bank, we have championed MSME banking through provision of professional, flexible and integrated banking services.”