Equity has won the 2020 SME Bank of the year – Africa Award at the Global SME Finance Awards virtual Gala.
The Global SME Finance Awards, which is managed by World Bank’s IFC, recognizes outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients. The award targets institutions that have successfully launched innovative products or services for SME clients, achieved remarkable results in providing finance to SMEs, or been an innovator in digital financial services.
Equity was recognized for its ingenuity in tailor-making solutions through its offering for the diverse SME groups across its portfolio. The bank’s digitization and innovation strategy has increased SMEs access to digital credit and disbursement through innovations such as EazzyBiz, EazzyFx, Eazzy Banking App and Equitel. Further, Equity has continued to support SMEs by equipping them with relevant skills through training and mentorship programs.
Speaking on receiving the award, Equity Group CEO Dr. James Mwangi noted that the accolade reinforced the Group’s commitment and purpose of, transforming lives, giving dignity and expanding opportunities for wealth creation.
“Equity, through its products and services, has continued to empower small and medium-sized businesses and has transformed them into instruments of driving value across the society. COVID-19 has challenged the normal operations for many SMEs in Kenya and across Africa. As a leading financial institution, we remain committed to training SMEs, availing opportunities for growth, and helping them recover because together, we can build a resilient economy and a greater world,” said Dr. Mwangi.
Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum said the Awards provide the winners an opportunity to showcase good practices on the global stage and to foster learning amongst their peers.
“We hope the winners of the Global SME Finance Awards will inspire SME financiers all over the world to learn from their good practices,” Mr. Gamser said.
By the end of 2019, SME banking portfolio contributed to 62 percent of Equity’s loan book. The lender has managed to cut a niche across the SME financing sector in Kenya and across the region, through among other factors; innovation.
The SME business forms the spine of Equity Group’s business portfolio. The lender has continued to support businesses within value chains and ecosystems and provide financial support. As at December 2019, SMEs accounted for 60% of the bank’s total loan book and 78% of total deposits with the lender.
“The responsibility of developing communities is larger than what an institution can do on its own and we want to place a rallying call of championing social economic responsibility of the people of Africa and ask like-minded people to join us as we further this cause,” Dr. Mwangi concluded.