Strategies used by Equity bank to compete in the Kenyan banking industry
The banking industry has experienced a rapid growth in terms of profits, deposits, revenues during the Kibaki’s era. This trend has triggered a lot of competition in the banking industry. Equity Bank has managed to weather this competition to stand out as one of the most successful Kenyan businesses today. This paper analyzes the strategies that are being used by Equity Bank to compete in the Kenyan banking industry. To achieve this objective, the study intended to use structured questionnaires; the target respondents were the senior employees of Equity Bank but the target respondents were not accessible. The researcher resorted to using secondary data for the study instead. The data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses. The study found that Equity Bank uses the following strategies to respond to competition in the banking industry: product offering diversification, branch and regional expansion, relationship marketing, financing, customer-care, innovation, and information technology strategies. The study found Equity Bank to be a very adaptive bank with a versatile reactionary mechanism to exploit any emerging gaps in the banking industry. The bank has been able to create new markets in uncontested areas like hair salons, millet growing (for brewing) and dairy industry, so its competition strategies are heavily bent on using “blue ocean strategies”. The study therefore concludes that Equity Bank has managed to build competitive advantages that can be exploited to sustain and further its growth. Historically Equity Bank strategy was focused on the low end market segment however the bank has created now infrastructure and organizational structures and has included SME’s and corporate banking in its evolving strategy. The Equity Bank case study is relevant to people studying the following topics: Business in Kenya, bank pricing, marketing, micro-finance, bank business model, and strategy.