Kenya's Equity Bank has won recognition for its letter of credit (L/C) services from a leading policy expert.

Professor Dana Redford says in a newly published book that the bank's L/C provision is amongst several services that promote financial inclusion.

Inclusive business model

In Developing Africa's Financial Services - The Importance of High-Impact Entrepreneurship, Radford cites Equity Bank as one of the best case studies in Africa for driving financial inclusion and wealth creation.

In the World Bank sponsored book, Redford notes that the bank has been challenging traditional banking norms and dismantling roadblocks to financial inclusion.

The bank's business model has evolved from a bricks and mortar approach of opening branches in as many locations as possible, including remote areas, to a strategy focussed more on agency banking and mobile-based platforms.

L/C commendation

The banks wins praise for offering L/Cs to local entrepreneurs, undertaking to pay exporters or sellers on their behalf, and offering other trade finance products including pre-shipment and post-import financing.

The bank also trains entrepreneurs to hone their business skills. So far, the bank says it has trained and mentored more than 1.6 million entrepreneurs including women and young people.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.