Equity Bank has lined up Sh150 billion for lending to small businesses in a sharp policy shift that will see the lender offload billions worth of Treasury bonds accumulated in the past three years. The bank, which announced a Sh6.2 billion net profit for the three months to March, says it will channel more of its loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to boost its profit margins. Equity has increased its holding of government debt to Sh169.7 billion in nearly three years, compared with Sh73 billion held in June 2016, the last reporting period before the introduction of controls on cost of bank loans. The interest rate cap saw banks cut back on lending to SMEs and individual borrowers, preferring instead to pile their cash in the lower-risk Treasury bills and bonds.
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