Barclays defies economic headwinds

Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe (Barclays) defied economic headwinds to register an after-tax profit of $13,6 million by end of June 2018 from $9,4 million over the same period last year on the back of an 89% surge in interest income and rising non-interest income.

The economic headwinds, which directly constrained bank performance included cash shortages and restrictions on international transactions, among others.

“The bank’s results reflect resilience and strong performance against a macroeconomic which whilst some improvements were noted remained quite challenging. Cash shortages and constrained market capacity to service cross border payments persisted,” Barclays chairperson Sydney Mtsambiwa said in the financial report.

Net interest income grew 89% to $18,8 million from $10 million in the first half of 2017 and contributed 47% to total income compared to 29% in the previous year.

The bank’s assets grew to $540 409 from $479 799 during the period.

Gross loans and advances to customers grew by 27% from $117 million to $148 million as at June 30 2018.

The bank said $37 million worth of new lines of credit and trading limits were established during the period under review and disclosed that similar arrangements would be pursued.

The growth in the loan book resulted in an improved loan-to-deposit ratio, which climbed to 33% from 27% a year earlier. Deposits grew 19% over the period.

“Both Barclays Bank PLC and FMB capital PLC continue to support the bank to ensure smooth transition. In terms of a transitional trade mark licence agreement with Barclays Bank PLC, the bank will evolve its brand over the period to October 2020,” Mtsambiwa said in the statement.

Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (FMB) bought a majority stake in Barclays in a $60 million deal last year.

The bank said the presence of FMB capital Holding PLC entities in four other markets in Southern Africa would give the opportunity to partner customers and clients with presence and trade relations in those markets.

“The bank is clear about the significant opportunities presented by the transition it is going through. The bank is pursuing efforts to offer a wide range of products, paving the way for deeper reach within targeted customer segments,” the bank said.

The impairment charge increased to $1,7 million as at June 30 3018 from $1 million the prior year on the back of increased general provisions driven by the growth in loan book and investments in treasury bills as well as provisions made to align with the requirements of the new International Financial Reporting Standards 9.

Surplus liquidity was invested mainly in government securities to optimise return on assets, whilst efforts to grow customer assets continued.


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