James Mwangi is an accountant, banker, businessman and entrepreneur in Kenya, the largest economy in the East African Community. He is the current Group Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Equity Group Holdings Limited, the banking conglomerate with the largest customer base on the Africancontinent, in excess of 8 million as of 2014.
Mwangi was born in Kangema, in Kenya’s Central Province, circa 1962. His father was killed in the Mau Mau conflict, so the young Mwangi, together with his six siblings were raised by Grace Wairimu Mwangi, their single mother. He attended Nyagatugu Primary School in Kangema Village. He went on to Ichagaki Secondary School, on a government scholarship, having excelled in primary school. For his A-Level education, he went to Kagumo High School, where he studied economics, English literatureand geography. He went on to the University of Nairobi, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (BCom). He also sat and passed the Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (CPA) examinations.
In 1993, in his capacity as “Finance Director”, he was tasked by the Chairman and by the CEO of Equity Building Society (EBS), to wind up the insolvent organisation which was losing KSh5 million (approx. US$60,000 then), annually and had, at that time, accumulated total losses of KSh33 million (approx. US$380,000 then). However the young Mwangi, aged about 31 at the time, began by motivating the 27 staff members to give better customer care to the 27,000 customers they had then. He also encouraged them to use 25% of their salaries to buy EBS shares. When things began to brighten up at EBS, the society began to sell shares to customers and to pay annual dividends in 1997. In 2000, the society computerized their operations. They were able to raise more capital and attract more customers. On 31 August 2004, Equity Building Society became Equity Bank Kenya.
In 2006, Equity Bank listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE). On Thursday 18 June 2009, the Group’s stock cross listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and started trading that day, under the symbol:EBL. As of October 2014, the bank group has subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda an South Sudan. As of March 2014, Equity Group Holdings Limited was a large financial services organisation in East Africa, with an asset base valued at over US$3.45 billion (KES:295 billion), with a total customer base in excess of 8.7 million, in the region the group serves.