Equity Bank has doubled their over the counter withdrawal fees recently in a bid to encourage the use of alternative banking channels such as agency outlets and mobile banking.
Equity hopes that this will decrease congestion in bank branches and reduce their teller to customer ratio. The cash withdrawal charges have gone up from Sh50 to Sh100, effective as of the 1st of May.
With 8.7 million customers to their name and a staff of about 8,000, the current ratio is sitting at around one teller to every 1,100 customers.
Equity also believes that the new levies will encourage more people to utilise their agency banking outlets or card-based transactions in retail stores.
“We plan to increase the fees to deal with congestion in our banking halls. Actually, we have been charging the lowest fees compared to other banks,” said Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi when he released the lender’s quarter one results last month.
The new fees will put Equity on par with Co-operative Bank to make them jointly the cheapest option, compared to the charges at rivals KCB (Sh200), StanChart (Sh200) and Barclays Sh300.
Mr Mwangi said “The group plans to enhance its market share through consolidation of the regional business; rolling out electronic delivery channels and expanding agency banking in the recently established counties.”
Equity has said that they will continue to encourage customers to access their services through their 11,009 bank agents across the country as it is a cheaper and more convenient channel with cash withdrawals from agents costing only Sh25.
Equity bank is also encouraging its clients to utilise mobile banking as an alternative channel.
The bank has 2.9 million mobile banking customers who access services such as airtime top-up, balance enquiry, funds transfer between an account and mobile money platforms like M-Pesa, paying utility bills and loan application.