Equity Bank Congo, BCDC gets regulatory nod for merger

EQUITYBCDC is the second largest bank in DR Congo

In Summary

•Has a balance sheet of $2.5billion

•As part of an international bank with a presence in 7 countries, Equity BCDC can immediately lend to a single customer up to $40 million.

Equity Bank headquarters in Nairobi/FILE
Equity Bank headquarters in Nairobi/FILE

Equity Group holdings Plc (EGH) has received regulatory approval to merge Equity Bank Congo (EBC) and BCDC to form a new bank.

Going forward, the new bank will be known as, Equity Banque Commercial du Congo (EquityBCDC).

This follows Equity's acquisition of 66.53 per cent  shareholding of BCDC from the family of George Forrest, combined with prior EGH 86.6 per cent shareholding in EBC and an additional EBC shareholding of 7.7 per cent acquired from KFW during the year.

Post-merger, EGH holds 77.5 per cent in Equity BCDC with the remainder being held by IFC, the government of DRC and minority shareholders.

To avail the same level of competencies, capabilities and experiences in DRC, and to reap the benefits of the synergies from both entities, Equity migrated BCDC to the Equity Group platform on December 14,  2020.

On December 29,  2020, the Group received approval from the Central Bank of Congo to merge the two subsidiaries (BCDC and EBC) into one bank.

Bank branches and other outlets of both EBC and BCDC will start to change their name and brand identity to Equity BCDC.

Speaking after receiving the approval for merger,  James Mwangi, Group Chief Executive Officer of EGH said:“This is an important milestone and a great new year gift to our customers in DRC. Equity BCDC will immediately have a single obligor limit of USD 40M."

 This, he said, will enable customers in DRC to access higher credit limits to grow and expand their business ventures.

At the same time, Equity BCDC becomes part of an international bank with a presence in seven countries (DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, and a representative office in Ethiopia), enabling customers to do cross border trade with ease.

On leadership, the two managing directors, Yves Cuypers and Mr Celestin Muntuabu, and their principal deputies will continue providing leadership as the management committee with the combined board members constituting the pioneer board of Equity BCDC.

Customers of both Equity Bank and BCDC can now walk into any branch and access services such as account opening, cash deposit and withdrawal, cheque deposit and withdrawal, SWIFT, RTGS, and EFT services, request for bank statements, do internal funds transfers and ATM withdrawals.

Mwangi said that with the merger, Equity BCDC had acquired the size and countrywide infrastructure, experience, and capability to contribute significantly to the transformation of lives and livelihoods in DRC, while stimulating economic transformation of the country through resource allocation.

He added:“Equity BCDC is now the most inclusive bank in DRC and a front runner to become the largest bank in DRC. Our customer will access with ease the advanced digital banking, and merchant banking services with a suite of payment cards from international card associations.” 

He has assured customers that during this transition period, they will continue to use their existing banking instruments such as cheque books, bank accounts, and account numbers as well as payment cards at the existing terms and conditions until further notice.

Equity Group Holdings has a strong global network of correspondent banks and development finance institutions for the purpose of syndicating development projects and bringing human and capital capabilities of the Group that recently crossed the Sh1 trillion, equivalent to nearly $10 billion balance sheet mark.

This milestone makes Equity the largest company in East and Central Africa in capital and balance sheet size and the second-largest company by market capitalisation on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. 

“We believe in building lasting relationships with our customers based on trust, and a world-class customer experience. Equity BCDC has a wide talent assembly that is rich in inexperience. This coupled with versatile and agile technology will offer our customers products and services tailored to suit their needs," said Mwangi.

"Our corporate customers will continue to receive personalised relationship management with an enhanced portfolio of products and services,” he added.

Equity Group has an asset base of over $10 billion. With over 14.2 million customers, the Group is one of the biggest banks by customer base in the region.