By Taonga Sabola:
Malawi Stock Exchange-listed commercial bank, NBS Bank, has said the future looks very bright.
Briefing market analysts on the bank’s 2018 financial performance in Blantyre Thursday, NBS Bank Chief Executive Officer, Kwanele Ngwenya, said the bank rolled back to profitability, posting an after-tax profit of K1.699 billion from a loss of K1.092 billion in 2017.
Ngwenya said tough times which saw the bank recording back-to-back losses were behind the institution, saying the bank was geared to reclaim its true position on the market.
Ngwenya attributed the financial turnaround to the strategy the bank has been implementing since 2017.
Among others, during 2018, NBS Bank saw net interest income growing by 35 percent buoyed by increased investments in short-term placements with financial institutions.
NBS Chief Finance Officer, Vera Zulu, said non-interest income, which is made of transaction fees and forex trading income, increased massively by 52 percent year- on-year.
Zulu said the bank’s uptake on digital platforms continued to improve as investments were made to increase network availability and reliability.
“The forex business showed a record growth of 75 percent largely because of increased volume of trade compared to the prior period.
Recoveries of non-performing debt were flat.
“Operating expenditure was up but only by 14 percent compared to the prior year largely due to investments changing the bank projects,” Zulu said.
The year 2018 also saw NBS Bank growing customer deposits by 29 percent as customers continued to place their confidence in the bank’s new strategy and investments in new online and branch infrastructure.
Looking ahead, NBS Bank says it expects stable exchange rates in 2019 and inflation to trend downwards.
“We expect interest rates to progressively follow a similar trend in the next six months. Due to the impact of the recent reduction of interest rates, we expected credit to the private sector to grow, with significant growth to be more pronounced in the second half of the year.
“We expect the improved macroeconomic environment to lead to GDP growth of 4 percent,” the bank says.
In 2017, the bank embarked on a new path with strategic goals and objectives of being a digitally-driven transactional bank for both retail and corporate customers through a deeper understanding of their needs.
In 2017, the bank undertook a rights issue where it raised K11.8 billion to recapitalise and bolster its operations.