, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Equity Bank has posted a 20 percent net profit increase to Sh3.8 billion from Sh3.2 billion earned in the same period last year.
Customer deposits grew by 18 percent from Sh175 billion recorded over the same period last year to Sh206 billion, while the net loan book grew by 28 percent to close at Sh179 billion as at the end of the first quarter.
Total expenses remained at Sh5.7 billion due to staff costs that grew by 22 percent to Sh2.4 billion from Sh1.9 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2013.
Operating income grew to Sh11.14 billion from Sh10.2 billion registered same period last year.
Briefing investors on Thursday morning, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said the performance this year will remain positive with growth driven by technology and financial intermediation.
“We are highly optimistic that the growth momentum will be maintained throughout the year with a number of new products and services set to be launched in the coming months,” said Mwangi.
He said that the bank’s sustained investments in mobile and agency banking, payment systems and money transfer and Diaspora remittances and operating expenses reduction strategy will continue to contribute to the positive growth trajectory.
The bank acquired a mobile virtual network operator’s license on Friday last week and is set to launch its telco operations in mid May.
Total assets grew to Sh295 billion up from Sh252 billion representing a 17 percent growth year on year as cost to income ratio improved to 48.7 percent from 50 percent driven mainly by reduced cost of risk from 1.98 percent in quarter 1 2013 to 0.72 percent during the quarter under review.
The bank recorded 250,000 new customers in the period under review to close customer numbers in the first quarter of 2014 at 8.7 million.
Being present in five countries, Kenya continues to constitute the largest market for the Group with 82.5 percent share in the bank’s Total Income
The bank seeks to be in five more countries in the short term that include Ethiopia.
“We are encouraged and at the same time humbled by our first quarter results which speak of utmost corporate resilience and a case of strategy gone right for Equity Bank Group. Notwithstanding the earlier projections for depressed performance, we are glad that our customers and the respective national economies continue to show resilience and project a positive outlook,” Mwangi said.