NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Equity has scooped two awards at this year’s African Banker Awards 2020. The Bank has been awarded the Best Regional Bank in East Africa, and for the second year running, the Africa Socially Responsible Bank of the Year.
Equity emerged as the Best Regional Bank in East Africa, having demonstrated high performance across various metrics, both qualitative and quantitative. According to the African Banker judging panel, the Bank excelled in terms of reaching out to new customers, offering new services, adopting inclusiveness by reaching out to the unbanked, adoption of new technologies and for its contribution to a stronger financial sector across the region.
Speaking while receiving the award during the virtual ceremony, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi stated: “We are glad that Equity has won this award. We appreciate the recognition that our operations in the 6 East and Central African countries we operate in have been standardised to reflect the One Equity brand providing inclusive financial services and we are not just a Kenyan bank, but a regional bank.”
During this COVID-19 period, the Bank exhibited initiative and support for its customers’ economic plight by providing an option for customers to re-negotiate existing facilities for up to 4 years. Equity further eliminated charges on all mobile banking transactions including all Equity-to-Equity mobile bank transfers, bank to mobile wallet transfers, mobile wallet to bank transfers, and mobile payments for bills, utilities, shopping, fuel, etc. to encourage cashless transactions.
Similarly, the Bank also won the African Banker Awards category for the Africa Socially Responsible Bank of the Year for the second time in a row. The panel of judges sought for concrete examples of projects and initiatives within the institutions that have had a sustainable impact on the communities they are geared towards. Identifying organisations that go beyond the philanthropic use of funds to use their overall knowledge, resources and reputation to improve the lives of the less advantaged in society. The Group through its subsidiary, Equity Group Foundation (EGF), has identified seven thematic areas to focus on that include; Education & Leadership Development, Food & Agriculture, Health, Enterprise Development & Financial Education, Social Protection, Energy & Environment, and Innovation. EGF has to date mobilized over KSh 44.7 billion (USD 447 million) to support these initiatives.
“Our purpose is to transform lives, giving dignity and expanding opportunities for wealth creation. We have combined financial services and doing good, social impact investments, in our business model for the betterment of our communities and we are glad that our work and the impact is being recognized,” added Dr Mwangi.
Under the health pillar, EGF mobilised Kshs1.1 billion (USD11 million) for the purchase of PPE for frontline medical personnel dealing with COVID-19 patients in public hospitals in Kenya.
In Rwanda, Equity contributed testing kits worth Rwf1 billion (USD 1.06 Million) to the government of Rwanda. In Uganda, a contribution of 2 brand new Toyota double cabin pickup trucks valued at about UGX 400 Million (USD 131,500) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth UGX 100 Million (USD 26,500). This contribution was in addition to UGX 25 Million (USD 6,625) the Bank had already made under the Uganda Bankers Association.
Equity Bank Congo also donated equipment valued at Congolese Franc 1.9 billion (USD 1 Million) to the National Coronavirus Solidarity Fund (FNSCC). Additionally, Equity Afia doctors, who are alumni of the Equity Leaders Program under EGF with a growing network of 30 Equity Afia medical centres in Kenya, have complemented the Government of Kenya efforts towards the fight against COVID-19 with training of staff and customers through materials. Since inception, the Equity Afia clinics have treated over 200,000 patients.
In Education, EGF in partnership with Mastercard Foundation committed USD 1.93M to ensure Wings to Fly and Elimu secondary school scholars continue their education during the school closure period.
The 13,800 beneficiary students received a solar-powered radio with a mobile phonecharging unit and a lamp to enable them access broadcast education programmes as well as online teaching during the pandemic.
Further, 14,600 students who include the secondary and TVET scholars received between KES3,000 and KES4,000 monthly stipend for food and other essential needs. To drive financial inclusion through a shared prosperity model, over 2.1 million women and youth have been trained in financial education while over 109,625 MSMEs have been trained in Entrepreneurship.
Under the Young Africa Works Program, KES44.2B has been disbursed to 122,330 MSMEs. Other initiatives include, 638,522 peasant farmers transformed to Agribusiness, 39,521 Small and Medium-Sized farmers supported, 1.38 Million trees planted, and 218,581 clean energy products distributed.
The African Banker Awards is a prestigious continental recognition awards ceremony that recognizes reforms, rapid modernisation, consolidation, integration and expansion of Africa’s banking and financial system.
Recognising the personalities and banks that are driving Africa’s rapidly transforming financial sector, the African Banker Awards bring together industry leaders from Africa and the world They celebrate the achievements of those who are driving growth and development and creating new economic opportunities for citizens and communities all over the continent and inspire new generations of bankers who are shaping Africa’s future.