“Performance was driven by … agriculture, manufacturing and mining,” said the bank in a statement accompanying its results.
The bank’s net interest income increased by 57% to US$14,5 million.This was on the back of loans and advances of US$116,9 million. However, the increase in interest income can be attributed to an increase in the bank’s lending rates, since the loan book only grew by 8% from US$108,7 million during the period.
Standard Chartered has a strict lending policy, with 93% of its loans being short term, with a maturity profile of three months and below. The loan-to-deposit ratio reduced to 46% in 2011 from 49% in 2010, a reflection of the bank’s strict lending activities as the increase in the deposits was not in line with the increase in the loans and advances to customers.
Fees and commission income, at US$37,6 million, was the major contributor to income, having grown by 30% during the period after the bank managed to grow its customer base by 14% to US$253,2 million. This was on the back of flight deposits from the local banks following revelations of problems at Renaissance Merchant Bank during the financial year.
Operating expenses for the bank increased by 16% to US$36 million on the back of increases in staff costs. Last year the bank was entangled in a salary dispute with its workers who were threatening to go on strike.
However, the bank managed to reduce its cost to income ratio to 59% from 72% the prior year since the bank implemented efficiency initiatives in their technology platforms, procurement processes and effective containment of travel, communication and utility expenses.
The assets of the bank now stand at US$325,1 million.
Standard Chartered said that it had a bank exposure of US$33,9 million, being restricted balances with the RBZ, which included statutory reserves and customer foreign currency accounts transferred to the central bank during the Zimbabwean dollar era.
The bank is amongst the consortium of international banks accused of not actively trading with local banks and opting to hold huge offshore bank balances. The bank is said to have a total US$109,3 million in nostro accounts while its request for dispensation to keep funds in excess of the 25% requirement was turned down by the RBZ governor Gideon Gono last month.
Standard Chartered said it needed to keep the funds offshore to facilitate disbursements to clients. The bank also remains in limbo following the push for international banks to apportion 51% of their equity to locals by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere. But RBZ governor Gideon Gono insists the banking sector be left alone since it is pivotal to economic activity.
Standard Chartered said it would remain committed to maintaining its status as a premium international bank with a strong presence in high growth markets. The bank says it is well-placed to support Zimbabwean businesses in accessing trade opportunities arising in Asia, Middle-East and Africa.