HARARE – Atlas Mara Zimbabwean unit, BancABC, has reported more than $50 million in deposit capture in the southern African country for the year ended December 31, 2017 on the back of a strong agency banking program.
The group said the agency banking program continues to be a strong driver of customer growth and deposit capture.
In the period under review, the group’s deposits were broadly flat on a constant currency basis, with a $94, 3 million increase driven by corporate banking clients in Zimbabwe being offset by lower deposits in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The group said it upgraded its Zimbabwean unit digital platforms including reintroducing mobile banking and adding instant inter-bank transfers while 1 000 point of sale terminals were rolled out.
“We expanded it in 2017 including in Tanzania and Mozambique, adding hundreds of new agents and thousands of new customers. We also achieved more than $50 million in deposit capture in Zimbabwe in the year,” group chairman Bob Diamond said on Tuesday in a statement accompanying the results.
“We deployed a new, best-in-class internet banking solution in Rwanda”.
Added Diamond “Our business in Zimbabwe reported strong operating profits boosted by Non-Preforming Loans (NPLs) recoveries, continued focus on cost reduction and fair value gains booked on some core banking and other assets”.
Atlas Mara loan impairment charge stood at $22, 3 million which is 44, 8 percent higher than the prior year charge of $15, 4 million.
This was largely due to additional impairments in Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and the impact of lower IFRS 3 adjustments.
In 2017, the group reported gross recoveries of $20.1 million compared to $4, 3 million in the previous year while its Zimbabwe unit, BancABC recorded significant progress in NPLs recoveries driving a substantial improvement in NPLs ratio.
“In Zimbabwe, despite an increase in recoveries, we also experienced an increase in portfolio impairments resulting in an overall increase in the impairment charge for the year. We continue to focus on restructuring and recovering further from the legacy NPL book and have made good progress on a couple of large single name exposures in Zambia and Zimbabwe both to increase profitability and to reduce our overall NPL ratios to closer to comparable peer levels,” Diamond said.
Atlas Mara recorded a net income of $45, 4 million in 2017 from $8, 4 million the previous year, making it the third consecutive year of profitability for the Company.
In the outlook, the group said it would continue to focus on sustainable growth throughout its businesses, making sensible and supportive investments. – New Ziana