Botswana’s oldest commercial bank, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Limited returned to profitability during the first half of 2018, achieving profit before tax of P28 million against a loss of P66 million recorded for the same period in 2017.
Headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mpho Masupe, the bank announced that Impairment charges were significantly down during the six months of the year, reflecting positively on portfolio rebalancing that was implemented at the onset of the year. Further total operating expenses were 8 percent down year on year as the Bank continues to tightly control costs, according to Masupe.
Customer deposits declined by 5 percent, with a marginal 3 percent decline in overall client assets, but the bank is confident that the development is in line with the latest market liquidity trends.
“Driving the decline in overall client assets is a decision to reduce exposure in certain sub sectors on the corporate book. However, the retail segment assets grew 5 percent year on year,” Masupe said. Stanchart decided to exit the mid-stream diamond jewellery sector also known own as the cutting and polishing sector. This was after the bank took hits in impairments when companies in the sector collapsed. The bank was over-exposed in that area.
Masupe said the Bank is poised to deliver on its strategy. “The results that we are presenting are a validation that we are on the right track. We decisively took appropriate steps in response to challenges we faced during last year, and we have always ensured prudence guides the way we do business”.
Chief Financial Officer, Mbako Mbo highlighted the strengths of the business; “our rebalanced portfolio is supportive of a sustainable growth path, the Bank’s balance sheet and the capital position remain strong and our costs are under control”. He further stated that International Financial Reporting Standard 9 (IFRS 9) is now effective and the Bank has fully implemented it and first half results incorporate effects of its adoption.
Masupe emphasized that as a more efficient and performing business, the Bank has greater confidence to implement more service and product enhancements throughout 2018, some of which have already been achieved. Speaking on technology, he said “Our digital capabilities, supported by our wide global network allows our business segments a greater degree of focus, cost-efficiency, convenience and innovative market access. Our easy to use mobile app offers transformative banking experience to our retail clients, while our corporate clients have increased control over their banking preferences through our award winning straight2bank platform.
Masupe concluded, “As the Bank looks to the second half of 2018 and beyond, we do so with increased confidence. We have a business that will deliver the value that our shareholders are accustomed to. We pursue enhanced service delivery through innovation that puts the customers first. We are excited about our recently launched partnerships and remain fully committed to contribute in driving commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity.”