Saturday, September 23, 2023

From an underdog to industry leader: How Cooperate Sustainability shaped Equity’s Rise and Rise

By Daniel Ominde

Equity Bank, a financial institution once considered the least performing among the 66 banks in Kenya in the early 90s, has undergone a remarkable transformation. From those challenging beginnings, the Bank has emerged as an industry leader.

It has now been recognized as the overall best bank in the country for 12 years running at the 18th edition of the prestigious Think Business Banking Industry Awards. This well-deserved accolade is a testament to Equity’s unwavering commitment to transforming livelihoods by offering services that socially and economically empower consumers, businesses, and communities.

This year’s Think Business Awards further validated Equity’s exceptional performance, with the Bank receiving accolades for being the Best Bank in ESG factors, the Most Customer-Centric Bank, the Best in Digital Banking,  the Best in Mobile Banking, the Best Bank in Retail Banking, the Best Bank in Trade Financing, the Best Bank in SME

Financing, the Best Bank in Agriculture and Livestock Financing, the Best in Agency Banking, and the Best Bank in Internet Banking among others. The Bank also received a Special Judges Award for Product Innovation for its contribution to championing clean energy access at the institutional and household level, the Equity Group Foundation, Energy, Environment and Climate Change pillar.

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Reflecting on the Bank’s achievements, Equity Bank Kenya Managing Director Gerald Warui expressed his satisfaction:

“The recognition of Equity Bank as the overall best bank in Kenya fills us with great pride. Our unwavering commitment to creating a sustainable banking brand and serving every one of our customers has truly paid off. This recognition reaffirms our dedication to excellence and motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation to pursue lasting impact and business sustainability.”

Its focus on corporate sustainability and governance is at the core of Equity’s success. The Bank has refined its competitive strategy and excelled across various socio-economic pillars by adapting to market dynamics and meeting diverse customer needs.

Equity has strategically invested in enterprise development and financial inclusion, health, energy, environment and climate change, food and agriculture, and education to serve customers from different backgrounds. These initiatives have allowed the Bank to expand its range of products and services, catering to a significant portion of the population.

The lender’s commitment to driving societal change and formulating high-value operating policies has contributed to its communities’ and stakeholders’ overall socio-economic development. As the Bank continues to innovate and adapt to customer needs, it redefines the banking landscape in Kenya.

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Equity’s dedication to social and environmental responsibilities has not only built a sustainable brand but has also garnered recognition on a global scale. Brand Finance ranked Equity Group the fourth strongest banking brand worldwide in its Top 500 Most Valuable Banking Brands of 2023. The Banker Top 1000 World Banks also placed Equity at the 22nd position in Africa in 2021, among others.

Looking ahead, Equity remains dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of its customers through continuous investment in sustainable practices. By upholding its corporate values and embracing social responsibility, Equity sets a benchmark for sustainable growth in the banking industry, solidifying its position as the overall best bank in Kenya.

The author is a consultant specializing in communication within the finance industry.

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