Corporate social responsibility and business strategy at Equity Bank, Kenya
Kiura, Patricia M
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The banking industry in Kenya has emerged as one of the fast growing sector in the economy. The growth has been mainly underpinned by; firstly an industry wide branch network expansion strategy both in Kenya and in the East African community region. And secondly, automation of a large number of services and a move towards emphasis on the complex customer needs rather than traditional 'off-the-shelf banking products. The banking sector is governed by the Companies Act, Banking Act, the Central Bank of Kenya Act and other guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Kenya. This sector was liberalized in 1995 and exchange controls lifted. The CBK, which falls under the Minister for Finance docket, is responsible for formulating and implementing monetary policy and fostering the liquidity, solvency and proper functioning of the financial system. Among the many commercial banks is the Equity Bank of Kenya. Equity bank commenced business on registration in 1984. It has evolved from a Building Society, a microfinance Institution, to now the all inclusive Nairobi Stock Exchange and Uganda Securities Exchange public listed Commercial bank. With over 5.7 million accounts, accounting for over 57% of all bank accounts in Kenya, Equity bank is the largest bank in the region in terms of customer base and operations in Uganda and Southern Sudan. This study is aimed at examining the corporate social responsibility and business strategy at Equity Bank Kenya. To achieve this, the researcher set out to investigate the corporate social responsibilities practices at the bank and its link to overall business strategy. The study was based at Equity Bank Kenya and was aimed at examining the corporate social responsibility and business strategy at Equity Bank Kenya. To achieve this, the researcher set out to investigate the corporate social responsibilities practices at the bank and its link to overall business strategy. The research design used was a case study and both primary and secondary data were used to facilitate in the accomplishment of the stated objectives. Primary data was obtained through the use of interview guide while secondary data was collected from bank's annual business and financial reports. The research showed in summative that involvement in Corporate social activities by the Bank is part and parcel of its overall strategy. This is clearly stipulated in the bank mission and vision purpose which is to transform the lives and livelihoods of its customers socially and economically by availing them modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities. The foundation named Equity Group Foundation has two main goals which are; first to facilitate the access to resources and linkages and secondly supporting every segment of society in Africa in developing skills for self- advancement. This is to achieve impact by initiating new programs as well as managing and scaling the Bank's current social programs. The study concluded that the bank is highly involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in various sectors. Also the finding showed that CSR has been incorporated in designing bank's strategic plans and that there is a linked to bank's strategy development and implementation. The study therefore recommends that CSR should be incorporated in strategy development and implementation.