Absa Bank of Botswana Limited recorded a resilient growth in balance sheet which went up by 5% during first half year to reach P18.8 billion amid Covid-19 storm.
The bank’s half year results for the period ended 30 June 2020 shows that a pre-provision profit of P307 million was recorded.
The bank asserted that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented tough challenges to the bank leading to heavy decline in revenues. Absa profit before tax suffered hefty blow as it went down by 67% to P129 million. Nonetheless, positive achievement was realised in Net Interest Income which increased by 4%. Absa attributed positive increase in its net interest income to a noteworthy growth in balance sheet momentum driven mainly by Retail banking which saw growth in scheme loans offering.
Furthermore, Net fee and income remained suppressed due to reduced volumes and margins. Giving overview of the bank interim financial results, Absa Botswana Managing Director Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane said the performance reflect the resilience of the business.
She said the results reflect the bank’s consistent efforts to remain committed despite the challenging economic environment that it is operating under at the moment. She said their strong balance sheet momentum boosted growth in key segment of business.
She averred that optimisation of the balance sheet is a critical area of focus by the bank going forward, saying this will enable them to preserve capital but also be agile to the growth needed.
Pheko-Moshagane said as the bank they are keen to hasten the digitalisation strategy as well as reconfigure digital channels to improve customer experience.
As dark cloud of economic uncertainty continues to reign supreme amid Covid-19, Absa’s total Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) income stayed subdued equated to first half of 2019. Pheko-Moshagane said CIB income was subdued due to lowered business activity arising from lockdown imposed by Government to curb Covid-19 menace thus leading to 24% decline in customer deposit among others.
Another key revenue stream being the Retail and Business Banking made strides towards the delivery of its strategy as overall customer numbers rose by 3% from 2019 to 2020.
“The Net interest income grew by 5%; however total income was muted. The decrease in non-interest income was in line with reduced transactional activity. Gross loans and advances grew by 10% to P9.3 billion. Retail Customer base growth of 3%,” said the bank.
Financial Director at Absa Cynthia Morapedi said customers have been deeply affected by the pandemic; noting that payment holiday was extended with its book worth a billion Pula now. Morapedi stressed that the business started the year on a positive note before the outbreak of Covid-19.
“Half year results amidst Covid-19 depict resilience of the business despite tough environment characterised by stiff competition but Absa bank is proud that reports a solid and profitable business. Lockdown affected collectors to collect debt hence low credit recovery,’’ she asserted.
Absa MD said separation from Barclays PLC is substantially complete at the set time line and within the budget allotted; adding that they take motivation from this to withstand Covid-19 blow.