By Machuki Dennson
Equity bank Kenya has been ranked position 39 globally on return on assets, position 71 on return on capital, and position 149 on soundness (Capital Assets to Assets ratio), in the Top 1,000 World Banks 2021 by The Banker magazine.
This evaluation is usually derived after analyzing banks through eight categories: growth, profitability, operational efficiency, asset quality, and return on risk, liquidity, soundness, and leverage. Overall, Equity was ranked 22nd in Africa and 761st globally based on its Tier 1 capital base of USD 1,096 million.
Equity’s exemplary performance in the rankings comes on the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down several sectors of the local economy. Prioritizing people and lives over profits, the bank made significant investments in protecting communities and stakeholders. In partnership with the Kenya COVID-19 Emergency Board, it provided PPEs to health workers in 56 county and national hospitals, and 60 faith-based facilities. The lender also supported 17,800 Wings to Fly and Elimu Scholars to cope with the prolonged school closure. It provided them with solar-powered radios and lamps with a mobile charging unit that allowed them to continue learning while providing for their life’s essentials financed by a monthly stipend with the support of Mastercard Foundation.
During the multi-crisis year, Equity focused on social impact investment, forgoing Kshs. 1.5 billion in waived mobile transaction fees, waiving Kshs.1.2 billion in loan rescheduling fees and accommodating Kshs.171 billion (or 31%) of the loan book for up to 3 years of principal and interest repayment breaks to enable businesses to survive.
Commenting on the ranking, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr James Mwangi noted that the ranking is an indication that Equity remains robust despite the challenging operating environment.
“These global rankings are truly an affirmation befitting the financial strength and professionalism of the Bank, as well as the measures we took in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We strengthened our capital buffers by retaining profits and withholding dividend payouts, took long-term loan facilities that strengthened our liquidity buffers, supported host communities and our clients to mitigate the impact of the crisis on them by waiving fees and rescheduling their loans to match loan repayments to new cashflow patterns,” Dr. James Mwangi, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO observed.
Equity Group, which operates in six countries, weathered the COVID-19 disruption to register a 98% growth in its 2021 half-year Profits After Tax to Kshs.17.9 billion up from Kshs.9.1 billion the previous year. The Group, which is the largest bank in the region in assets, also reported a growth in total assets to Kshs. 1.12 trillion up from Kshs. 746.5 billion the previous year. Customer deposits grew by 51% to Kshs. 820.3 billion up from Kshs. 543.9 billion in the same period, retaining the lender’s position as the biggest bank in deposits, market capitalization and with a customer base of over 15 million customers.
The Banker’s global and regional rankings have been industry-standard measures of financial institutions performance for over 50 years. The Banker’s Top 1,000 World Banks ranks the largest banks by Tier 1 capital, a key measure of banking strength. In addition, they analyse more than 120 data points tracked by The Banker Database year-on-year. The ranking is an invaluable resource for benchmarking bank-to-bank, as well as understanding the health and wealth of the global banking industry.