Nairobi — Equity Bank has recorded a 21 percent net profit growth in the first half of 2014 to Sh7.6 billion compared to Sh6.3 billion recorded in the similar period of 2013.
The bank's Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi says the growth is mainly driven by non-funded income which grew by 19 percent as well as a 10 percent growth in total income.
"The 19 percent growth in non-funded income was driven mainly by merchants business and payment processing income that grew by 58 percent as well as the growth of Diaspora banking and remittances processing that grew by 23 percent," he stated.
Mwangi says the bank grew its total assets by 16 percent to Sh303 billion up from Sh262 billion recorded in June 2013 while the loan book grew by 24 percent in the period under review to Sh186.51 billion from Sh150.48 billion recorded in 2013.
Government securities increased by eight percent to Sh45.34 billion from Sh42.09 billion recorded in 2013, while borrowed funds increased by 14 percent to Sh29.13 billion from Sh25.61 billion recorded in same period 2013.
Mwangi says the bank is waiting for the approval by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) to launch its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services that will mirror all its banking services into the mobile phone.
"The roll out of prefix 0763 XXXXXX will level the telecommunications sector and liberate Kenyans from monopolistic hold and give them freedom, choice and control of their lifestyle while changing banking experience," he said.
He said that the real innovation is to use a thin SIM which will provide every Kenyan with a feature phone the opportunity to convert it into a dual SIM phone.
"This will empower about 25 million Kenyans to have a choice of two concurrent telecom services providers and also save them the inconveniences of constantly changing SIM cards," he explained.
The bank is also keen on rolling out innovations that would bring affordability of banking services.
The bank had planned to roll out its MVNO by July 2014 and hopes to roll it out within 30 days.
Every SIM card will be a debit card, enabling customers to pay for goods by tapping their phones on a mobile point of sale terminal.
The network will allow for seamless money transfer to all banks in Kenya including being Visa and MasterCard enabled. It will also be set up to allow for domestic mobile money services.
Mobile money transfers will be charged at one percent of the transaction value compared to the prevailing market charges of 16 percent while instant loans will be available at a maximum of two percent per month compared with the 7.5 percent per month offered in the market.
Mwangi said that Airtel Kenya will support Equity's delivery of MVNO services without capital investment required by traditional mobile operators.