Equity’s rise from a building society to a multinational

The Equity story has to be among the best success stories to have come out of our country. Basically, how the institution rose from a building society that almost went under, to become a bank that changed the way banking was done, and now a multinational to reckon with.

Over the holidays, I took time to do some research on the Equity story and what I found out was a story of determination, perseverance and service to the people that finally paid off. For those who might not be aware of this, Equity Bank started serving the lower end of the market at a time when banking was considered to be a preserve for the rich. Basically, banking back then was too expensive that only the rich could afford it. For example, some banks had accounts with a minimum balance of Ksh. 10,000 back then at a time when the majority of the population simply could not afford it. This affordability turned out to be the magic charm and soon the unbanked started trooping to Equity and with it came profits. It was at this time that competition noticed and predictably started to introduce products for this market segment hence making banking cheaper for the populace. 1984 – 1993

The Equity story started out in 1984, when the Equity Building Society opened its doors as a mortgage financing organization in Nairobi. The society focused on providing term loans and deposit services and opened several branches in the nearby Central Province. However, after doing business for about 10 years, things didn’t quite work out and this forced a rethink of their business strategy. It was at this time after being declared technically insolvent that the leadership led by the Founder Chairman Dr Peter Munga, who retired last year during the 2019 AGM, decided to bring in new management to turn around the building society. This is what marked the beginning of the Equity that we know today. 1994 – 2003

Dr James Mwangi, the current Group CEO and MD joined Equity in 1993. He joined the society as the Director of Strategy, Finance and Operations and one of his first tasks was to rethink the business strategy to reflect their actual clientele, who were the low and moderate income savers and borrowers. The bank also expanded its offerings beyond a single credit and single deposit product to include business, household, education, […]

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