Equity net profit up 9pc to Sh12b

Dr James Mwangi Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Equity Group Holdings speaks during Annual General Meeting. The bank has reached preliminary agreement to exchange ordinary shares in the group for controlling equity stakes in four banks operating in Rwanda,Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. [Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard] Equity Group has posted a nine per cent growth in profit after tax for the first six months of this year. The lender recorded Sh12 billion net profit up from Sh11 billion reported over a similar period last year. Equity Group Chief Executive James Mwangi said the growth in profit has been realised on the back of increased lending and reduced operating costs as the majority of the bank’s operations now flow through digital channels. "At the moment, 97 per cent of transactions go through the bank’s digital platforms and we are working to increase the services we can offer through our agency network and mobile application," said Mwangi. Mr Mwangi says the lender’s upgrade of its digital network includes overhauling the entire ATM network and introducing smart ATM machines that will allow new functionalities such as Near Field Communication and biometric security features in the next three months.

SEE ALSO : Equity Group’s first-half pretax profit jumps Sh17 billion

It will also certify its agents to offer custodial and brokerage services by September this year. This means Equity Bank consumers will be able to get other services including loans, bank assurance as well as securities trading through their agents. "Customers are not withdrawing money but transacting it on their digital platforms which is an increasingly popular trend and we now want to focus on digitising high-value segments including retail commerce and diaspora remittances," he said. Interest income grew nine per cent, from Sh25.4 billion in the first half of 2018 to Sh27.7 billion recorded in 2019. The loan book expanded by 17 per cent from Sh275 billion last year to Sh320 billion. The bank recorded a marginal rise in non-performing loans from 8.4 per cent in June last year to 8.6 per cent, representing Sh27 billion. Mr Mwangi said the lender is broadening its investment in healthcare.

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Equity Group James Mwangi Net profit

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