Ever since the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, various measures are being put in place to curb the spread of the virus with authorities urging financial institutions to enhance cashless transactions. Equity Bank has not been left behind.
Regional banking conglomerate Equity Group has a track record leading the adoption of digital banking way back even before the pandemic. Here are some of the measures taken by the lender with effect from 20th March 2020.
- Waived mobile banking transaction fees for the following services until 30th June 2020:
- All Equity to Equity Mobile bank transfers
- All Bank to Mobile Wallet transfers
- All Mobile Wallet to Bank transfers
- All interbank mobile transfers through Pesalink
- Customer Payments using Equity Cards
- Mobile payments for Bills, Utilities, Shopping, Fuel, etc
- Mobile balance and loan limit inquiries
- Contactless Cards – All Equity debit and prepaid cards (Visa and Mastercard) and Equity POS are now contactless. This will enable customers and especially during this COVID19 crisis period to ‘Tap- and- Go’ as they pay so as to reduce contact and handling of POS.
- Digital processing of short term Personal and Micro Loans via mobile and internet. On the recently updated Eazzy Banking App, apart from installment loans, the loan options have been increased to include:
- Maji Loan to facilitate purchase of water and sanitation resources like water tanks etc
- EcoMoto Loan so that more customers can acquire clean energy equipment like solar, energy-saving jikos, etc
- Simu Loan so that more customers can acquire smartphones and pay pole pole.
- Digital account opening and management. For those who are not Equity customers but would like to open an account without having to visit a branch, the Eazzy Banking App allows one to open a bank account instantly within minutes and requiring very basic details.
Equity’s Drive for Fintech and Innovations Boosts E-Commerce
Looking at the 2019 financial results, the bank’s Fintech and innovation strategy continues to drive digital payments and transfers through EazzyPay and mobile application EazzyBanking App:
- EazzyPay transactions value hit KSh15.3 billion in 2019, recording a 129% rise
- EazzyBanking App transaction value hit 169.9 Billion recording a 27% rise
- Agency deposits hit KSh589.2 billion in 2019, recording a 12% rise
EazzyBanking App enables customers to make payments and cash transfers in real-time from their bank accounts through the mobile phone. On the other hand, EazzyPay allows Equitel subscribers and EazzyBanking App users to make payments directly to merchants like supermarkets, petrol stations, restaurants, general stores, etc. For Eazzy Banking App users, the process of identifying merchants was recently simplified. Billers are now organised in categories of “Popular” and “Favourites”. The most popular billers are brought forward for ease of identification by customers.
Equity Non-Funded Income Registers 19% Growth
During the same period, Equity’s income diversification strategy saw its non-funded income contribute 40% to total group earnings, against an industry average of 38% for other tier-1 banks. The non-funded income grew by 19% to KSh29.9 billion, from KSh25.1 billion in 2018.
According to Equity Group Managing Director, Dr. James Mwangi, the performance was aided by the bank’s commitment to technology and innovation. Therefore, it has resulted in reduced cost, lower risks, improved services, increased security, better flow of capital to areas of investment, and improved efficiency that serves the customers in real-time.
Furthermore, Eazzy FX, Equity’s new online forex trading platform that began trading in April 2019, registered a 100% growth in transactions to record 2,000 transactions whose value stood at KSh1.3 billion for the period ending 2019.
Additionally, Equitel registered a 9% growth in value of transactions to record KSh622. 9 billion in 2019, a growth from KSh572 billion recorded in 2018. The Equitel platform registered 267.7 million transactions within the period, an increase from 252 million in 2018.
On the other hand, the agency banking channel recorded the highest value of transactions outside the branch, which stood at KSh800.6 billion for the year ended 2019, a 14% increase from the previous year, where the bank registered KSh 703.2 billion in transaction value.