Equity Bank Group has been named the top lender in the region by capitalization, reflecting the space it has to finance businesses.
The ranking by Business Africa, based on a tier one capital buffer, has placed Equity ahead of its East African competitors.
The lender’s stock of $1.558 million (Sh188.52 billion) in capital, retained earnings and cash reserves last year has placed it 24th in Africa, according to findings of the Top Banks East Africa 2022 survey.
Equity was listed ahead of its main rivals KCB Group with an authorized capital of $1.233 million (Sh149.19 billion) and Ethiopian Commercial Bank $929 million (Sh112.41 billion).
“A key indicator of the weakness of the East African banking sector is the fact that the size of capital required to secure a final position in our regional Top 20 is the lowest of all other regions at $159 million,” wrote the authors of the report. .
“For Kenyan banks at least, faster bank growth could come from resuming their expansion into other markets.”
Tier one capital is used as a measure of a bank’s ability to finance its customers’ business activities.
Equity, the largest lender by market share, earlier this year launched the Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan, a socio-economic transformation programme, with $7 billion (Sh847 billion) in funding aimed at reaching five million micro, small and medium enterprises and 25 million customers individuals on the continent.
The lender this week hosted investors from the US seeking investment in the East African Community bloc.
The US trade mission will engage more than 500 local entrepreneurs, micro and small-sized enterprises and companies through one-on-one business networking sessions, panel discussions and site visits.
“Our interaction during this trade mission is important as this will enhance the exchange of knowledge that will enable us to meet immediate market needs and global trends in consumer behaviour,” Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said in a statement.
The US delegation is interested in working with local businesses to either open a store in Kenya or sign an export-import agreement.
Mr Mwangi cited health, food, real estate, agriculture, construction and education as sectors with “endless opportunities” for investment.
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