The Star (Nairobi)

18 February 2012

Kenya: Equity Bank in Massive Rwanda Expansion

KENYA's largest bank by customer base Equity bank has opened seven more branches in Kigali bringing the total number of its outlets in that country to ten. Equity Bank said it is working to facilitate the goal of the Rwandese government to have at least 80 per cent banked population by year 2020.

The Kenyan based bank is also looking to import the agency banking model that has been implemented locally for the last one and a half years to Rwanda to help achieve the stated target. It intends to roll out an initial 200 agents once it gets the approval to start agency banking services.

Equity said it has invested $12 million (Sh996 million) for the Rwanda expansion and is currently working to set up three more branches to be complete by end year. "We exist to transform the lives and livelihoods of our people socially and economically and we have moved to Rwanda with a clear mission to avail modern, inclusive financial services," said the bank's Chief Executive James Mwangi.

Rwanda's Finance and Economic Planning Minister John Rwangobwa said the bank will be important in ensuring that financial services are availed to different market segments in that country.

Equity bank which first started its operations in Rwanda last October has so far attract more than Rwf 5.2billion in customer deposits with more Rwf 1billion already advanced out as loans and advances and banking over 30,000 customers. "Despite the challenging international and regional economic environment, Rwanda managed to sustain dynamic economic activities in 2011, recording high performance in all sectors," Rwangobwa said.

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