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Equity Bank of Kenya 1Q Profit Jumps 22% as Lending Rises

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May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Equity Bank Ltd., Kenya’s second-biggest lender by market value, said profit in the first three months of the year climbed 22 percent as lending increased while interest rates fell across East Africa.

Income jumped to 3.21 billion shillings ($38.3 million) from 2.64 billion shillings a year earlier, Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi told reporters today in the capital, Nairobi. Net interest income, the money lenders earn from loans, rose 21 percent to 6.87 billion shillings, he said.

“The East African economies are expected to continue benefiting from the stability of interest rates at lower levels than those experienced in the first quarter of 2012,” Mwangi said. Equity operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Loans grew to 139.6 billion shillings from 121.1 billion shillings a year earlier, while deposits were 175.3 billion shillings compared with 153.7 billion shillings a year earlier.

Samson Oduor, chief finance officer of the bank since October, left the company in March, Human Resources Director Gerald Warui said without providing further details. Oduor is fourth head of finance at Equity since 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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