Equity Bank’s mobile banking platform Equitel recorded a 1000 per cent growth in transactions from 13.7 million in 2014 to 151 milion in 2015 following its official launch in August.
Speaking during the release of the 2015 full year financial results, Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said Equitel customers transacted over Kshs 115 billion in 2015 compared to Kshs 4.7 billion in 2014, a move that is now helping the bank cut its cost of operation.
“Mobile and online banking have become key platforms for our customers hence this will remain a priority as we switch into digital banking,” said Mwangi.
By last December 2015, the bank had issued over 1.7 million SIM cards of which 90 per cent are actively being used for mobile banking.
“Our customers are elated with the free money transfer offering and other features. This has seen them recommend Equitel more people hence helping us reduce our marketing cost,” said Mwangi.
According to Mwangi, for the first time in 25 years the bank has seen a reduction in staff cost which can be attributed to the successful roll out and adoption of Equitel. “Few customers are visiting the branches and this might lead us into retiring the old brick and mortar structures as banking become part of our lifestyle,” said Dr. Mwangi.
Volume of total loans disbursed on Equitel reached 8.5 billion with the total number of mobile loans accounting for 78 percent of all the loans issued by Equity Bank in 2015. 72 per cent of lending went to small and medium businesses.
“We receive about 80, 000 applications for loans on a daily basis out of which only 1000 comes through the branches. The average monthly loan is Kshs 7,000 while customers applying for one year loans take up to Kshs 120, 000,” explained Mwangi.
Mwangi believes that Equitel is set to grow even further in 2016 due to the enormous convenience it is offering. “Before the end of this year, Equitel will do more transactions than all other channels put together,” he said.
Equitel, which brings to the fore the convergence between mobile and banking services, aims to promote greater access to banking services in Kenya. It became the first platform in the country to combine both banking, and telecom services including voice, data and SMS services.