20 August 2018

Kenya: Equity Group Spins Off Finserve As an Independent Fintech Company

Nairobi — Equity Group Holdings has spun off its fintech arm to a subsidiary that will independent operations and its own Board.

Finserve Africa, which runs Equitel, will operate as an autonomous commercial enterprise providing solutions not just for Equity Group, but to other organizations.

While launching Finserve, Equity Group CEO and Managing Director Dr. James Mwangi said that fintechs will play a critical role in deepening financial inclusion and democratizing financial service provision.

"Thanks to Finserve, 97 percent of all Equity transactions are now outside the branch. In the spirit of shared prosperity, and having seen the revolutionary impact that fintech capabilities have brought to the Bank, we have taken a deliberate strategy to make Finserve an independent commercial subsidiary that will focus its efforts in delivering solutions to propel the African economy. Equity Group now becomes one of Finserve's clients for technology solutions," said Mwangi.

Finserve has also integrated will global fintechs like Ali Pay and Wechat. By integrating with remittance partners across the world such as Wave, PayPal, Equity Direct, Western Union and Money Gram, the Bank has become the leading channel for diaspora remittances. Effectively, Finserve has become the fintech convergence point for players from both the East and West.

"We now control 60 percent market share in merchant banking and payments because our universal POS converges mobile wallets, cards and digital payments meaning that merchants require only one POS. We have also experienced rapid growth in diaspora banking, where we are now leading in diaspora remittances and in agency banking," Mwangi added.

Finserve Managing Director, Jack Ngare said that fintech will be the driver of financial solutions in the future as it makes financial services delivery better, cost-effective, safer and more secure.

"As a subsidiary of Equity Group, our capabilities have been tried and tested through the innovations and digitization we have delivered for the Group. Our vision is to power business ecosystems through innovation and collaboration that cut across geographical boundaries and sectors," said Ngare.

During the launch, which was attended by developers, start-ups and SMEs, Finserve unveiled two fintech solutions, the Jenga Payment Gateway and Jenga APIs.

The Jenga Payment Gateway is a product created to support businesses in processing payments in the crowded East African payment space that has seen card, mobile wallet and fintech players proliferate daily.

Jenga Payment Gateway consolidates all payments to the Jenga platform and presents one integration platform to businesses. To date, Finserve has offered solutions to businesses in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

"On the settlement side, Jenga Payment Gateway allows cash-out by merchants to any bank in the world and to all mobile wallets in any of the seven countries," adds Ngare.

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