Africa is undergoing a season of rapid growth, characterized by innovative ideas that are crafting solutions to local problems. This has led to unprecedented digital transformation that’s creating and driving new industries, and the banking sector has been very receptive to the new ways of doing business.
Equity Bank has over the years taken advantage of technology to deliver innovative products that deliver impact to customers at all levels. In 2017, for instance, Equity Bank was named the Best Digital Bank in Kenya by Bank Africa. The same year, the bank was recognized by Think Business Awards as the best in Integrated Digital Marketing. Additionally, social bakers ranked Equity Bank the most socially devoted financial services provider in Africa and 5th in the world.
“We have a banking solution for everyone, in line with our inclusive agenda which we have carried as part of our commitment throughout our history,” Dr. James Mwangi, Equity Bank CEO is quoted in one of his addresses.
Among equity’s most recognizable products was Eazzy Banking, a suite of digital products that gave customers banking options dispatched through digital devices such as smartphones. Eazzy Banking was launched in 2017 to allow customers an easy, comprehensive and secure experience while making their lifestyle more convenient whether in the country or abroad.
“Customers banking trends have declared the death of the bank branch as a customers’ transaction channel, as they increasingly embrace self-service technology platforms that give them freedom, choice and control,” said Dr. James Mwangi, Equity Bank CEO during the launch of Eazzy Banking.
There were more than 60 functionalities that customers can undertake on the Eazzy Banking app. The app was one of the early innovations of Equity Bank’s fintech subsidiary, Finserve Limited. Finserve is the vehicle charged with driving the bank’s overall digital innovations and has so far demonstrated its ability to disrupt through innovation. The company’s main role is to enrich the customer experience by offering futuristic solutions.
The bank is now phasing out the Eazzy Banking app and replacing it with the new Equity Mobile App. The new app comes with a number of features to give customers a seamless banking experience and services. This includes sending money to banks and mobile wallets and getting loans from Kshs. 100 to Kshs. 3M, buying goods and services and paying bills as well as viewing and downloading account statements.
Before launching Eazzy Banking, the bank had introduced Equitel, a mobile payment banking platform that saw the bank introduce its own SIM cards in 2015. This first-of-its-kind service is reported to have captured 15% of the total market share within its first full year of operation.
By launching a SIM card that customers can use for calls and other mobile services while still accessing banking services, Equity Bank demonstrated its preparedness to venture into unfamiliar territory.
Besides working to deliver the company’s digital solutions, Finserve spearheaded the Equity Hackathon, a competition highlighting innovations among university students. The winning team from the competition pocket goodies that included a cash prize of Ksh.600, 000 for the overall winner.
Finserve has enabled Equity Bank to integrate with all major global card issuers, enabling its members to leverage card payments around the globe and .more customers to participate in global e-commerce marketplaces. “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.” A statement from the company states.
Merchant banking and agency banking is yet another area where the bank has become a market leader. “We have over 42,000 agents across the region, ranging from retail outlets, corporates in malls and buildings and postal outlets, who are vetted and accredited by the bank across the region. “
Merchant and agency banking has become a core area of Equity Bank’s success as they support and complement the work done in bank branches. They have enabled the lender to extend its services to underserved areas across its region.
Equity Bank has clearly built a solid foundation in the area of technology and innovation. It has distinguished itself by the ability to easily adopt self-disrupting innovations to offer better services to its customers.
At the launch of its fintech subsidiary, Dr. Mwangi said, “We now control 60% 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,”
The lender takes pride in leading competition across several aspects of business. For its willingness to innovate, Equity has been heavily awarded and recognized across the globe.