Equity signs Sh5.6bn loan with European bank

Equity Bank has received a Sh5.6 billion (50 million euro) credit line from the European Investment Bank (EIB), that it hopes will boost its loan book by lending to small and medium enterprises.

Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

Equity Bank Group CEO James Mwangi Wednesday said the funds will be lent to eligible SME firms across the region.

The credit line is part of EIB’s global loan facility that will be channelled towards a growing number of regional SMEs seeking local or international currency-denominated business loans.

Ongoing infrastructure development has created high demand for such funds, Mr Mwangi noted, pushing up demand for medium-term business loans.

“Beyond providing SME loans, we shall also provide them with access to technical business development specialists from Equity Consulting Group to enable them grow,” the chief executive said.

“Our commitment is to advance an integrated solution that literally guides the SME transition to a small corporate level,” he added.

Other than the credit line advanced to Equity, the lender will also be eligible to enjoy the EIB Technical Assistance programme support, which is geared towards raising the technical capacity of financial and related development partners.

Over the years, Equity Bank has significantly grown its lending to SMEs as a proportion of the its loans book. In 2013, the bank advanced more than 170,000 loans to SMEs totalling over Sh35.6 billion ($412 million).

The group has subsidiaries in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, making it one of the largest banking institutions in the East Africa region with a market spread of more than 10 per cent of the total bank lending. It has more than 9.2 million customers.

– Business Daily