Equity Bank and American Express today announced a partnership agreement, through which Equity Bank will act as the exclusive issuer of American Express Card products in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. As part of this agreement, Equity Bank will also acquire merchants on to the American Express network in these countries.
Equity Bank will begin issuing American Express-branded products by the first half of 2014. The new products will be introduced in Kenya first, with additional cards launching in Tanzania and Uganda throughout 2014, subject to regulatory approval. Equity Bank will begin acquiring merchants beginning this December in Kenya.
"We are pleased to enter into this agreement with American Express, which will further strengthen our customer relationships and also give us an opportunity to serve American Express Card Members in East Africa," commented Dr. Mwangi, Group CEO and Managing Director, Equity Bank. "This partnership is in line with our business strategy of becoming a one stop shop for financial services and giving our customers and partners the freedom of modern banking in today’s fast-paced world. Our investment in a robust IT platform continues to pay dividends and gives us the opportunity to continue investing in products and services that suit our customers who are increasingly becoming technology-driven and seeking borderless and seamless financial services."
Over the last year, Equity Group has made significant investments in its diaspora remittances, merchant acquiring infrastructure and banking and transaction processing by connecting to leading global payment systems.
"Our partnership with Equity Bank marks our first foray into offering American Express products in East Africa, where we see a number of unique and exciting growth opportunities," said Peter Wright, Executive Vice President and Head of EMEA Partner Card Services. "We are delighted to partner with Equity Bank, who is a leader in financial innovation, and we look forward to delivering a compelling range of new products to its extensive base of customers and expanding the scope and reach of the American Express brand in this region."
Under the terms of the agreement, Equity Bank will be responsible for all elements related to issuing its American Express-branded products, including designing the product features, owning the customer relationships and providing billing and credit management. In addition, as an American Express merchant acquirer, Equity Bank will support the expansion of the American Express network by developing and maintaining new merchant relationships in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
About Equity Bank
Equity Bank is the leading inclusive bank in Africa, listed on the Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges. It is the largest bank in the region in terms of its customer base with over 8.5 million bank accounts, which is over 50% of all bank accounts in Kenya, and has a presence in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania. The vision of Equity Bank is "to be the champion of social economic prosperity of the people of Africa" while its purpose "is to transform the lives and livelihoods of the people socially and economically by availing them modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities."
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Since 1997, American Express has partnered with a select group of leading banks and financial institutions around the world to issue American Express-branded products and acquire merchants on to the American Express merchant network. By leveraging its partnerships, global infrastructure and the powerful appeal of its brand, American Express has gained even broader reach for its network worldwide.