Equity to open two branches in Nyanza

Publication Date: 1/23/200


Equity Bank CEO, Mr. James Mwangi. Photo/ FILE
Equity Bank has announced plans to open two new branches in Nyanza Province in two weeks time despite the Orange Democratic Movement’s call for economic boycott on firms associated with the government.

The bank will open the branches at Mbita Point in Suba District and Bondo in Bondo District after the Kitengela branch, which was opened Tuesday.

Addressing the press in his office in Nairobi Tuesday, the bank’s CEO, Mr James Mwangi, also said none of the institution’s 72 branches was physically destroyed by the post-election violence that has rocked the country.

“Only 10 branches were closed for four days during the entire period,” said Mr Mwangi.

Reacting to the boycott call, which is allegedly targeting businesses that are said to have supported President Kibaki’s campaign the General Election, Mr Mwangi down played its threat to the bank saying that ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, had exonerated it from such an action since it supports the poor.

“Mr Raila (Odinga) said on (last) Friday that it is foolhardy to target Equity Bank as it is helping the poor across the country by empowering them economically,” said the CEO.

He said Mr Odinga had reiterated the same message during an interdenominational prayer meeting for post-election violence victims held in Kisumu on Monday.

“We are not sure of the two statements (over the boycott) but we think the original was erroneous,” he said after handing a Sh10 million cheque to the Tumaini na Undugu (Hope and Brotherhood) initiative towards assisting those affected by the violence.

The initiative, which aims to raise Sh250 million, is a joint initiative by the bank, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Methodist Church and the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Mr Mwangi, however, challenged politicians to weigh the impact of their actions before speaking.

On the bank’s customers affected by the violence, he said some insurers had agreed to treat the incident as arson to facilitate their compensation.

Mr Mwangi admitted that the bank may write off some of the loans for those who may not have been insured, a figure he placed at Sh30 million.

He maintained that the bank has recorded good business during the crisis saying its loan portfolio had hit the Sh1 billion mark since the start of the year and the deposit base increased by Sh500 million.


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