Equity Bank has been recognized as Africa’s Best Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the 2021 Euromoney Awards.
This year, Euromoney received almost 1,000 submissions from banks in their regional and country awards Programme that covers more than 50 regional awards and Best Bank awards in about 100 countries. Last year, Equity received 3 Euromoney awards in the Best Bank in Africa, Best Digital Bank and Excellence in Leadership award categories.
Despite the heavy impact of the pandemic, Equity increased its lending to SMEs, which by the close of 2020 stood at 51% of the total loan book. The Bank put a priority on financing SMEs in Agriculture, Manufacturing, Household and value-chain banking and health sector.
MSMEs often face a host of growth challenges including managing and enabling financial transactions, access to credit, and expanding their reach. To solve some of these challenges, Equity has fortified its product offerings by providing them with customized, flexible, and integrated banking solutions, for both business owners and employees.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Equity has innovated a structured approach by deliberately supporting to transition enterprises from MSMEs to large corporates. This is by offering a tailored Customer Value Proposition (CVP) for enterprises and by aligning staff and delivery channels for each segment.
In line with Equity’s mission of offering financial services that socially and economically empower consumers and businesses, the bank provided customized cash flow-based lending and asset-based lending solutions with flexible repayment terms. The bank accommodated customer loans up to Ksh. 171 billion, giving them reprieve and flexibility to adjust their business model.
Loan offerings include Working capital, Term Loans, Overdrafts, Asset and Equipment Financing Mortgages, Project finance among others. To facilitate trade internationally and locally Equity offers trade finance products like Letters of Credit, Guarantees, Post Import Finance, Avalisation, and Commodity Finance.
Driven by changes in the operating environment, Equity has also deployed a transformational business continuity plan that has seen growth in transactions completed on digital platforms. Its Equity Online platform is a secure banking platform that enables individuals and proprietorships to continue to manage their bank accounts at their convenience.
While acknowledging this recognition, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi stated, “With support from various partners, Equity Group has strongly positioned itself to support SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to keep their lights on during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic which slowed down the economy and negatively impacted the cashflows of enterprises. By extending credit to them during the period, Equity demonstrated its commitment to walking the journey with its customers, and its empathy with their socio-economic situation brought about by the pandemic,” said Dr. Mwangi.