How Equity Bank beat all lenders to post double digit profit growth

Banks had warned that 2018 would be bad for them due to the much awaited IFRS9 which would require that they take their profits and put them as insurance for expected losses on failed debts over the year.

But at the beginning of the year, the Central Bank of Kenya gave the banks a five-year break so that they could prepare for the new regulations.

Equity Bank may have taken this as lenience of the apex bank when it reduced insurance on bad loans by Sh3.2 billion from Sh6.6 billion in 2016.

The bank has surprised the whole market by posting 13.8 percent growth in profits from Sh16.6 billion to Sh18.9 billion.

The lender seems to have based the move to reduce loan loss provisions from the reduction it witnessed in bad loans albeit a marginal decrease of Sh770 million.

Equity also received a Sh27.6 billion boost from non-funded income by making money off its mobile channel which created a new lucrative avenue dubbed mobile banking commissions which grew 64 percent.

Equity mobile loans are known as Equitel Eazy loans which charge an annual figure and not a monthly figure for the interest rate currently at 14 percent; a 5 percent facilitation fee and 10 percent of this facilitation fees as excise, saw commissions rise form Sh731 million in 2016 to Sh1.197 billion.

Interest income, however, came down from Sh41 billion to Sh37 billion despite increasing loans issued form Sh266 billion to Sh279 billion attributed to the capping of interest rates in the entire 2017.

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