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[Kenya] Equity Group delivers 18% asset growth as profit before tax grows by 10%

The successful execution of the Equity 3.0 innovative business strategy which is centered on digitization and virtualization, disruption of delivery channels, transforming the business model and redefining customer’s experience delivered a 10% growth in Profit Before Tax during the first half year of 2019. The Group registered an 18% growth in total assets to reach Kshs.638.7 billion up from Kshs.542.02 billion registered the same period previous year. Interest earning assets grew by 15% to Kshs.500.5 billion up from Kshs.433.9 billion driven by a 17% growth in net loan book to Ksh. 320.9 billion up from Ksh.275 billion and a 13% growth in government securities to Kshs.179.6 billion up from Ksh. 158.9 billion.
While releasing the half year results, Dr. James Mwangi, the Group Managing Director and CEO attributed the growth in assets to successful mobilization of deposits; “Our customer-centric and ecosystem approach to intermediation has given us an opportunity to target our customer’s horizontal and vertical value chains.” He added, “The branch is evolving to an SME advisory center as majority of our customers move to more convenient self-service digital channels.”
Total liabilities grew by 18% to reach Kshs. 535.9 billion driven by a growth of 16% in customer deposits from Kshs.393.7 billion to Kshs. 458.6 billion. The Group has a cost effective funding comprising of 72% customer deposits, 17% shareholders’ funds and 9% long-term borrowings.
Total income grew by 10% to Kshs.36.0 billion up from Kshs. 32.7 billion driven by growth in Treasury income of 12% from Kshs 10.3 billion to Kshs 11.5 billion. Interest income grew by 9% to Kshs.27.7 billion up from Kshs. 25.4 billion while non-funded income registered a 13% growth to reach Kshs.14.9 billion up from Kshs.13.1 billion. Non-funded income contribution to Total Income was 41.4% up from 40.2% recorded the previous year driven mainly by a 20% growth in Merchant commissions from Kshs 876 million to Kshs 1.055 billion, Swift and RTGS commissions which grew from Kshs. 358 million to Kshs. 413 million, a growth of 15%. Diaspora remittance volumes grew by 28% from Kshs 52.1 billion to Kshs 66.5 billion, resulting to Forex trading income growing by 27% to Kshs.1.9 billion up from Kshs.1.5 billion.
Unrealized capital gains on Mark to Market on government securities grew by 99% to Kshs.2.09 billion up from Kshs 1.05 billion due to declining yields.
Total expenses grew by 11% to Kshs.19.0 billion up from Kshs. 17.2 billion. The Cost to Income ratio was maintained at 50.3%
Profit Before Tax grew by 10% to reach Kshs.17.0 billion up from Kshs.15.5 billion while Profit After Tax increased by 9% to reach Kshs.12 billion up from Kshs.11 billion.
While the regional subsidiaries contribution to the Group profits remained at 18%, they increased their total Group asset contribution to 27% up from 26% and their total Group deposits contribution to 26% up from 25%. The stability in profit contribution by the Kenya subsidiary at 82% of Group profits was driven by improved cost income ratio that declined from 45.6% to 44.9%.
The convenience of virtualization and digitization saw the number of loans disbursed reach 2 million out of which 1.9 million loans (93%), worth Kshs.20.0 billion were disbursed through the Equitel mobile channel while 100,000 loans (7%) worth Kshs 70.9 billion were disbursed through the branch.
97% of all banking transactions were done outside the branch with Eazzy app transactions growing by 28% to reach 146 million up from 114 million transactions; Equitel transactions grew by 5% from 121 million to 126 million transactions; agent banking transactions grew by 15% from 38 million to 44 million transactions; Eazzy biz transactions grew by  79% from 800,000 to 1.4 million transactions; Eazzy pay transactions grew by 101% from 574,000 to 1.15 million transactions; Merchant transactions grew by 36% to reach 10.7 million up from 7.9 million transactions.
Equity Bank Kenya is well positioned to participate in delivering the government of Kenya’s 4 big agenda. During the last 18 months the bank differentiated itself and repositioned its balance sheet by increasing its liquidity to 61% through a 79% growth in investment in government securities.
The Group has supported the strengthening of the balance sheet by enhancing the Group core capital to total deposits to 20.1% (against a regulatory minimum requirement of 8%) while core capital to total risk weighted assets stood at 17.5% against a regulatory minimum requirement of 10.5%. Disrupting the business model, re-imagining the distribution channels, digitization, re-positioning the balance sheet and massive social impact investment in the Equity brand has strategically and uniquely differentiated Equity Group. Convergence of products and services on Omni-channel has delivered unparalleled convenience and ease of banking. As a result, the market has rewarded Equity Group with a 11% growth in customer base from 12.5 million accounts to 13.9 million accounts.
The Group recorded an NPL ratio of 8.6% against Kenya banking sector NPLs ratio of 12.7% with a Group NPL coverage of 73.7%.
On its 2019 Global ranking of the world’s top 1000 banks, the Banker has ranked Equity Group as the 16th Best Bank in the world on return on assets, 32nd Best Bank in return on capital, 75th best on soundness measured on capital asset ratio, 844th largest bank in the world and the fastest growing large bank in Africa. Think Business ranked Equity Bank Kenya as the Best Bank overall, Best Tier 1 Bank, Best Bank in SME Banking, Best in Agency Banking, Best Bank in Digital Marketing, Best Bank in Internet Banking, Best Bank in Mobile Banking, Best Commercial bank Microfinance, Best Microfinance Bank in Agriculture & Livestock Financing,  Best Bank in Product Marketing, Best Bank in Corporate Social Responsibility, and runners up best bank in asset finance, Retail Banking, Mortgage finance, and customer satisfaction. EuroMoney 2019 awarded Equity Bank the Africa’s Best Digital Bank, 2019 while African Banker Awards 2019 recognized Equity bank as the Most Socially Responsible Bank in Africa, 2019
The strength of Equity was further affirmed by Global Credit Agency (GCR), which maintained the credit rating of the Bank at AA- (long-term and A1+ (short-term) and rating outlook of Stable in August 2016 while Moody’s has maintained Equity’s National rating of KE-1 similar to the sovereign rating, with a global rating of B2. The agency has given a stable outlook to Equity Bank.

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