Increasing Financial Inclusion in East Africa: Equity Bank’s Agent-Driven Model


In 1993, Equity Building Society in Kenya was failing but, by 2004, had turned itself around—with remarkable results. Transformed into Equity Bank Limited (EBL), a commercial bank traded since 2006 on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, it had amassed 7.4 million accounts (57 percent of all bank accounts in Kenya) by the end of 2013, with a continuing focus on and commitment to small-balance depositors. The successful turnaround enabled EBL to embark on a regional expansion plan in 2007, which led to the acquisition of an existing microfinance institution in Uganda in 2008, and the establishment of greenfield subsidiaries in South Sudan in 2009, in Rwanda in 2011, and in the United Republic of Tanzania in 2012.