Kenya’s regional Equity Bank’s share of diaspora inflows grew by 28 percent during the first half of the year to 66.6 billion shillings ($639 million) from 52.2 billion shillings ($503 million), the banks disclosed on Tuesday.The Bank received more than 50 percent of all the country’s diaspora remittances largely due to its fintech capabilities, reporting significant increase in remittance market share with Equity Bank projecting further growth this year.
Diaspora commission grew to 398 million shillings ($3.8 million) during the six-month period from 383 million shillings ($3.7 million) recorded during a similar period in 2018.
Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi while releasing the half year results in Nairobi, said the increase was a result of a strategic decision to make diaspora remittances affordable.
“The volume is growing at 28% and the commission is growing at 4%. This implies that we are taking advantage of the high volume to reduce and pass the benefits to the customer and making diaspora remittance much cheaper,” said Dr. Mwangi.
In 2018, diaspora remittances increased by threefold to 108 billion shillings and income generated grew by 169% to 751 million shillings. This was due to increased strategic partnership with payment partners including PayPal, Equity Direct, Western Union, MoneyGram, Wave and Swift.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has identified the ease of sending money back home as a major factor in the sharp growth of Kenyan remittances.
This has made the remittances to rise becoming the biggest source of foreign exchange, ahead of tourism, tea, coffee and horticulture export.
CBK data shows that the 12-month cumulative inflows to June 2019 increased to USD 2,768 million (Kshs276.8 billion) in the 12 months to June 2018, reflecting a 13.6% growth.
Equity Bank has branches in Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and DRC.