Equity Bank

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Equity Bank
Founded 1984 as Equity Building Society
Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya
Key People CEO and Managing Director James Mwangi
Products Retail-focused banking products and services
Website http://www.equitybank.co.ke

Equity Bank is the largest bank in Kenya with around half of all bank accounts in the region and was also the best performer amongst listed blue chip stocks on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2008. Equity Bank has won numerous banking, microfinance and investor awards over the past two years and recently expanded into neighboring Uganda.


Equity Bank, formerly Equity Building Society, began operating in 1984 and was established as a Kenyan commercial bank in August, 2006 through a share listing on the NSE. Equity Bank has since established itself as the largest and most recognized banking brand in both Kenya and the east African region, winning three awards for best Kenyan bank in 2008 alone.[1] The bank currently operates over 90 branches, 350 branded ATMs and 2,500 points of sale (POS) outlets in the region.


In 2008 Equity Bank notched up total accounts of 2.8 million, some 48% of all Kenya's bank accounts, by focusing mainly on the country's mostly rural, low income residents. It has shareholder funds of 17 billion Kenyan shillings (KSh) and a market capitalization of 15.2 trillion KSh, making it the largest bank by market cap in central east Africa.[2] Equity Bank's 2008 gross profit as of June 30 increased 200% year-on-year while its total assets grew 143%.[3] Equity Bank was also the only stock listed on the NSE to increase its value in calendar 2008, rising 3.3% to 176 KSh per share.

Equity Bank, along with mobile telecoms provider Safaricom, last year bagged a prestigious African Investor Index (Ai) award from the New York Stock Exchange for 2008 in addition to its second consecutive Euromoney Best Bank in Kenya award. Equity received the award for its focus on providing rural, lower-income Kenyans with banking products and services and now intends expanding those effforts to neighboring Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.[4]

Going west

Equity Bank acquired Uganda Microfinance Limited (UML) in June 2008 and is set to rebrand UML's branches by February 1st, 2009 and intends to grow its customer base there by lowering interest rates on loans.[5] UML, which has 83,000 depositors and 15 branches throughout Uganda, was Equity Bank's first major acquisition outside Kenya.

Key people

CEO and Managing Director James Mwangi has held the position since 2004, tranforming a bank that was technically insolvent when he took over into a Kenyan financial powerhouse. Prior to his ascension, Mwangi spent 12 years as Equity Bank's finance and stategy director.[6] He has also served almost three years on the UN Advisory Group on Inclusive Financial Systems and in 2007 was appointed to the UN's Environmental Program on Commercialization of Microfinance in Africa. Mwangi holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Programme of Strathmore- IESE Business School in Barcelona.[7]

Latest news

Dakar, Ghana-based private equity firm AfriCap recently sold 15 million Equity Bank shares for 2.5 billion KSh that it purchased in 2003 after it was released from obligations imposed by the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMAK) to the hold the shares until August 2008.[8] AfriCap originally acquired a 16% stake in Equity Bank but reduced that to 5.5% just before Equity's NSE listing in 2006. The sale, just before New Year, was the largest single daily transaction on the NSE in recent months, Business Daily Africa reported.


  1. History/Background. Equity Bank.
  2. Equity Bank sees off UML. The Monitor.
  3. Financial Results. Equity Bank.
  4. Four Kenyan firms bag African Investor Awards. Business Daily Africa.
  5. Equity set for launch in Uganda. The Nation.
  6. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO, Equity Bank Limited. AfricanGreenRevoloution.com.
  7. Dr.James Mwangi, MBS Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director. Equity Bank.
  8. Investor reaps Sh2.5b from sale of Equity Bank shares. Business Daily Africa.