, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Equity bank has recorded a 7.2 percent growth in profit after tax for the third quarter ending September 30 to Sh8.9 billion up from Sh8.3 billion the same period last year.
The bank’s CEO James Mwangi said the growth in the three months between July and September was slow due to heavy investments in ICT, mobile and agency banking.
Customer deposits grew by 17 percent to Sh190 billion from Sh162 billion attributed to agency and mobile banking.
The bank’s loan book registered a 21 percent growth to Sh159 billion, bolstered by 30 percent reduction in interest rate and a focus on the SME segment.
“ICT costs have increased significantly as the group upgraded its system and data centre, trained staff in simulating the change of its core banking software from Finacle version 7 to version 10,” Mwangi said during an investor briefing on Monday.
Interest income saw a marginal growth of four percent to Sh23.6 bilion up from Sh22.7 billion following a slight reduction in chargeable interest rates.
Other income, transactions and commissions grew by 12 percent to Sh10.6 billion up from Sh9.4 billion, on the back of increased number of customers.
The number of customers using mobile banking increased to 2.7 million up from 2 million as at September 30.
However total operating expense grew by 19 percent to Sh17.6 billion from Sh14.9 billion mainly driven by operating cost that grew by 15 percent.
“The costs were driven by significant expense of creating the agency network and cost of developing, hiring and training of staff to manage SME sector and build supreme banking centers,” he added.