Equity Bank’s business model founded on strategically entrenching itself as the region’s ultimate financial services provider, is well on course as the bank opens a new branch in the coastal city of Zanzibar bringing to 14, the number of Equity Bank branches in Tanzania.
Aligned to Zanzibar’s government renewed focus on micro and small scale business, Equity Bank plans to come up with financial products aimed at furthering the government’s agenda. The bank’s presence has been hailed by many stakeholders in the country as having contributed to increased levels of financial literacy by being the only lender that offers financial training aimed at empowering its customers mainly women and youth.
In attendance to oversee the commissioning was Zanzibar’s Minister of Lands , Energy, water, and environment Hon. Salama Aboud Talib who graced the event in place of the Finance and Planning Minister and elicited much delight in Equity Bank’s entry stating that its resolve to develop products and services for clientele across the demographics will provide the necessary support to facilitate economic growth
“ We are happy and encouraged to see Equity Bank developing products and services that support all members of the society and in different sectors of the economy including some previously perceived as high risk, due to lack of collateral and high costs of serving them. This had made banking services seem way out of reach for many of our people but with the entry of Equity Bank into the country, this has changed. The bank has stayed true to its vision of being the champion of the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa by introducing a banking model which caters to all categories of customers,” stated Ms. Talib.
The Managing Director Equity Bank Tanzania, Joseph Iha, says the bank is committed to deepening financial inclusion and broadening access by opening more branches, ATM, Agency and Merchant banking which will contribute significantly towards achieving of Zanzibar’s vision 2020 blueprint.
“Equity Bank business model is designed to make banking affordable, convenient and accessible. For instance, we have addressed all the entry barriers to make Equity Bank an all-inclusive bank. Moreover, to open an account with us, only an Identification Card will be required. Our accounts have no minimum balance, no withdrawal limits, no ledger fees and no monthly fees and we are thankful to the people of Zanzibar for their warm welcome and support. Our plan and commitment is to expand our presence here in Zanzibar through more branches, Agent banking and merchant banking through partnerships with all global Card Associations and therefore our ATMs and Point of Sale terminals accept payments by cards from all Card Associations worldwide. This offering has proved to be a great offering for the tourist market here in Zanzibar,” adds Mr. Iha.
The expansion comes at a moment in time when lenders in Kenya are shutting down some of their existing branches which many executives have justifiably termed it as a ‘natural attrition’ owing to the proliferation of mobile money leading to redundancy of roles in some branches, and hence closure is imminent.
The branch network supported by over 1050 agents and 17 ATM outlets, the bank plans to expand its products and services closer to the people and play its part as a financial services provider to inspire a socio economic transformation aimed at enhancing the livelihood of its customers.