Disquiet at Equity Bank as it seeks to to lay off staff before end of year

Even as profits continue to soar

equity bank_james mwangi
Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi. PHOTO: AFKINSIDER

Equity Bank Group on Thursday, November 3, revealed that it expects about 400 staff to exit the institution this year by natural attrition, adding to the 660 who were shown the door last year.

This, according to a report by the Star, continues the trend in the industry where lenders are increasingly investing in digital platforms to cut operation costs due to reduced interest earnings.

READ: Massive layoff expected as Ecobank Kenya closes branches

Equity which is the country’s largest lender by customer deposit accounts, which boast 9.6 million, however said it will continue to recruit selectively. It is now shifting its focus to relationship managers for its existing branches, which are hubs for its growing agents and merchants.

“As we digitise, we are converting all our branches into SME centres which requires staff to do relationship management,” group’s Managing Director James Mwangi said during an investor briefing in Nairobi on Thursday as quoted by the paper.

The lender which trades at the NSE, said it targets to digitise most of its processes by end of the year, with daily mobile loan processing at about 37,000 via its newly-established Equitel platform.

According to Mwangi, about Sh30 billion were disbursed through mobile platforms in nine months through September, compared to just Sh1.5 billion the same period last year.

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He said: “Once we rope asset finance, mortgages, SMEs and corporate loans to be originated online, we expect the online applications to be about 60,000 to 75,000 on average daily.”

But even as it looks to struck the employees off the payroll, the bank’s net profit for the nine months rose by 16.99 per cent to Sh15.01 billion compared to Sh12.80 billion the same period last year.

“Mobile digital banking processed nearly 3.5 million loans totalling Sh30 billion which represented 84 per cent of the loans granted by the bank in Kenya,” Mwangi noted.

The bank mobilised Sh15.21 billion more in deposits to reach Sh331.30 billion.

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Via the Star