Equity Bank is now 35 years old, a milestone that the bank celebrated with thousands of Kenyans at KICC as it also unveiled a refreshed brand identity.
For years, Equity has been known to disrupt the banking industry. The fact that the bank played the biggest role to date in banking the unbanked in their millions will never be taken away. When the financial industry was looking at them and thinking that they would not last a year in the market with their radical approach to offering services so far removed from the then norm, Equity matched on and the masses joined. I think the very simple and long running tagline ‘Karibu member’ worked wonders in changing the mindsets of customers who had always been made to feel that banking was for the elite. They felt welcome. One could go to the bank as they were and even when coming from the shamba and not necessarily all cleaned up, all were welcome to come in with their kiondos and chicken, do their banking and proceed home.
The seed for Equity’s success was planted in their disruptive and non discriminatory approach by removing all barriers to account opening and operating. For example, the bank abolished the minimum balance, the need for introducers, the idea of an ATM being a status symbol, and the then 7 day cash withdrawal notice. At a time when women did not traditionally own property and many therefore could not afford security for loans, Equity revolutionized collateral and enabled women to give what they had as security.
What next after the 35 year celebration and new brand identity?
Going forward, Equity will present itself as a unified brand, with one basket of products and services under one roof; ranging from banking to insurance and investment. From an identity perspective, the new logo now features “Equity” without an entity name such as Group, Bank,Insurance, or Investment Bank. It is aimed at creating a sustainable growth path and service delivery in today’s rapidly changing financial services environment.
Commenting on the move, Equity Group CEO and Managing Director Dr. James Mwangi noted that the refreshed positioning follows an extensive three-year process of sounding out its current and future customer segments.
“The evolution of our brand is an important part of our strategy for continued marke leadership as well as being integral to the promise we made to all of our stakeholders when we began our journey of transformation to modernize and do all we can to get closer to and better serve our customers,” he said.
“We are proud of the role Equity has continued to play in the growth and prosperity of Kenya and its people. Our brand has carried us through a disruptive and trailblazing 35 years’ period. During this period, we have evolved from a small building society to a leading bank in East and Central Africa. We have become a leading digital bank while our social impact investments hold promise to secure our young people as our future servant leaders. The refreshed brand identity reflects the future we envision, one which communicates our global capability, strong heritage, innovative culture and agile business model that will carry and give the brand momentum to scale its strengths across Africa and the world,” Dr. James Mwangi added.
In a bid to unlock new opportunities within the growing digital banking space, Equity will continually focus on operational efficiencies, driven through innovations and re-engineering of its value chain. Customers will be further enabled to interact with the bank on self-service channels of mobile and internet devices or on the 3rd party low variable cost infrastructure of over 46,000 agents and over 27,000 merchants.
“In developing this identity, we emphasize that our customers come first and that our primary focus is to ensure we are prepared and well positioned to meet all the needs of our stakeholders in the most effective and seamless manner,” said Dr Mwangi.