Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe jumped from a $624 million loss posted for the half year last year to an emphatic $607,2 million inflation adjusted profit after tax for the half year ending June 2020.
A subsidiary of Standard Bank Group of South Africa, the bank attributed the impressive performance to an improvement in its non-funded income that includes trading revenue, fee and commission income and fair value adjustments on investment properties.
In a statement accompanying the results Stanbic Bank board chairman, Gregory Sebborn, said the bank ended the six-months to 30 June, 2020 with a qualifying core capital of $2,1 billion surpassing the local currency equivalence of the required US$30 million regulatory minimum core capital that has been set for the end of 2020.
Mr Sebborn said while the operating environment remained extremely challenging, the economy recorded notable development in 2020 such as increases in power generation to levels estimated at 1 050 MW by the end of June 2020 from 660 MW at the beginning of the year attributable to increase in water levels in Lake Kariba.
“Cereal production also significantly increased mainly on the back of a rise in small grains output. Lastly, the trade deficit during the first five months of 2020 narrowed to US$340 million compared to a deficit of US$400 million over the same period in 2019,” said Mr Sebborn.
Despite the above, economic challenges prevailed as demonstrated by the downgrading of Zimbabwe’s growth prospects by the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank from rates of around 3 percent initially to negative growth of 7,4 percent and 10 percent respectively.
The Bretton Woods institutions noted the major risk as Covid-19, low business, rising inflationary pressures, foreign currency shortages, erratic rainfall patterns, low disposable incomes, unstable energy supply and slow progress in implementing Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financial Terrorism (AM/CFT) reforms.
Chief executive Joshua Tapambgwa, said net interest income for the period declined by 28 percent from $540 million to $389 million although the bank’s lending book had grown by 11 percent from $2,5 billion as at the end of December to $ 2,7 billion. The bank’s lending rates remained stagnant on account of regulatory constraints, at a time when average monthly rates were around 18 percent.
“The bank registered a 23 percent growth in its fee and commission income, growing from $395 in the prior period to $486 million largely buttressed by the impact of the continued depreciation of our local currency against the USD on the foreign dominated commission income, which, in turn, had increased substantially in local currency terms,” said Mr Tapambgwa.
He said fair value adjustments, which were recorded during the period on investment properties, underpinned the uplift in the bank’s inflation adjusted total income that grew by 108 percent from $1,4 billion as at the end of June 2019 to $ 2,9 billion.
Mr Tapambgwa said the acquisition of new lending and investment assets during the period saw the bank’s credit impairments growing by 263 percent from $115 million to $386 million.
“In addition, the bank reassessed the quality of its lending book following the outbreak of Covid-19 and its impact on business operations in key industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism with the latter being the hardest hit so far, resulting in additional impairments being recorded,” said Mr Tapambgwa.
Commenting on the bank’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) drive, Mr Tapambgwa noted that the year began on an unsettling note as the world woke up at war with Covid-19 pandemic.
He acknowledged that it has been a trying year for humanity adding that Stanbic Bank joined hands with Government and many other well-wishers by providing equipment worth US$ 200 000.
“The equipment comprised five ventilators, personal protective equipment (‘PPEs” in the form of protective suits, goggles, N95 masks, surgical masks and face shields; 2 400 PCR tests, sanitisers and two boreholes),” he said.–herald.cl.zw