FEATURED: Equity Bank Rwanda Becomes Leading Lender For Second Time In A Row | New times
For the second year in a row, Equity Bank Rwanda received the first prize as Bank of the Year Rwanda 2021 at the Bank of the Year Awards 2021 by The Banker.
The Bank of the Year awards celebrate the best of the World Bank and are considered the industry standard for banking excellence.
The 2021 edition highlights institutions that have taken a step ahead of their peers in terms of performance, strategic initiatives and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equity Bank Rwanda has been recognized for its strong commitment to the country’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) community during a difficult year for the country’s economy.
During the period under review, Equity Bank Rwanda increased its Tier 1 capital by 27% from 36.2 billion Rwf in 2019 to 46 billion RWF in 2020, assets increased by 25% from Frw 276.1 billion in 2019 to Frw 345.3 billion in 2020, and double-digit 20% profit of Frw 11.1 billion compared to Frw 9.2 billion the previous year. To demonstrate a healthy portfolio, Equity’s NPL ratio was reduced to 3.58% from 3.99% in 2019.
According to The Banker, the 2021 edition of the awards was aimed at rewarding stronger and more resilient institutions that have risen to the challenge and weathered the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Banks have reacted quickly, changed the way they work and the way they provide services to customers. It is important to note that institutions have rethought their purpose and role in society, effectively supporting the business and financial interests of their clients when they need it most.
While acknowledging the victory, Equity Bank Rwanda Managing Director Hannington Namara said: “We are very honored and touched to receive this recognition of the Bank of the Year Rwanda 2021 award from The Banker. The price is a clear demonstration of a bank that remains relevant even during tough times.
A testament to functioning true to our commitment to providing inclusive financial services that transform livelihoods, empower dignity and expand opportunities for wealth creation.
The performance was mainly driven by strategic initiatives which had a positive impact on the company during the pandemic year. The Bank has partnered with Enterprise Partner Solutions (ESP) and the Mastercard Foundation in creating a COVID-19 recovery and resilience program that has committed $ 2.5 million to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs ) in the tourism and hospitality sector being one of the most affected sectors.
This is in keeping with the goal of businesses to be on the front lines in building a better and stronger economy. So far, the program has supported 120 SMEs in both sectors both financially and technically at all stages of maturity, as well as their value chains.
The Bank also supported SME clients affected by COVID-19 through loan restructurings and signed a $ 10 million guarantee agreement with the African Guarantee Fund to cover 50% of all SME exposures that have been restructured, including new loans to SMEs. It was about helping SMEs to recover with resilience.
Plans are also in place to partner with all UN organizations in Rwanda and other partners willing to work with the Bank to help clients recover. These include partnerships to support young people through the Young Africa works program in Mastercard deal.
To ensure smooth digital operations, and strengthen its trade finance offering and in compliance with government law No. 63/2007to stop all manual tendering, Equity got a ready-to-use solution to automate the processes. This has shown an increase in compliance and more and more SMBs are using the platform. In addition, the Bank has created several trade finance products that target SME clients and retail markets.
The Bank continues to be at the forefront of digital transformation through innovation. Equity Rwanda has upgraded its Eazzy suite which includes the EazzyBanking app, Equity USSD * 555 #, EazzyNet, EazzyBiz, EazzyLoan and EazzyAPI which has resulted in an unparalleled increase in usage over time.
At the end of 2020, 92% of all transactions were made outside of brick and mortar. Taking advantage of technology, local offers are offered on a global basis via the Diaspora Banking department to people working and living abroad.
Thanks to EazzyNet Online, the EazzyBanking application and Fintech integration with international money transfer operators (IMTO) which include World Remit, Ria, Transfast, Terra, Hello Paisa, Wave, Small world, Money Gram, Western Union, Home Send, Thunes, Ping express, and PayPal.
These enabled diaspora remittances to increase by 378% in 2020, from Rwf 13 billion to Rwf 62 billion, while fees increased by 330%, from Rwf 162 million to Rwf 62 billion. Rwf 697 million during the same period.
The Bank predicts that trends will continue to disrupt technological capacity building through increased investment in specialized human and technological resources to ensure leading-edge products and services.
The Bank of the Year Awards 2021 by the Banker, a monthly international financial affairs publication owned by the Financial Times Ltd, is a continental award centerpiece that recognizes and recognizes excellence in banking drawn from the world’s leading financial institutions. .
They are judged on their ability to generate returns, gain strategic advantage and serve their markets. In 2020, Equity Bank subsidiaries in South Sudan, DRC and Rwanda won the Bank of the Year category.