Equity Bank forex trade earnings rise to Sh819m

By Maureen Maingi

Equity bank shared that its forex trading income has risen by 22% to Sh819mn in the first quarter of the year. In their report they confirmed that they had made Sh30.93bn worth of remittances during the quarter. This was an increase of 27% on the Sh24.4bn from this period in 2018.

Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi said: “This rise in forex trading income is tied up to our success in diaspora banking. Since the remittances come in dollars, it is allowing us to build a sizeable pool of hard currency to drive our forex trading in the market.”

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Mwangi went onto say that Equity Bank was prioritising forex trading commissions rather than remittance fees. This is largely as it wants to increase the volume sent home through lender’s channels. As a result the handling fees increased at a much lower rate at five % or Sh9mn to Sh192mn.

Equity Bank has relied on its partnership with PayPal, and MoneyGram, World Remit to increase remittance volumes. Remittances have been the primary source of firegn exchange income for the country.

In 2018, remittances stood at Sh273bn. This was just ahead of receipts at Sh157.36bn, and horticulture exports at Sh153.68bn and tea at Sh140.86bn.

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