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PROGRESS around debt restructuring discussions and an International Monetary Fund (IMF) funded programme could positively impact Zambia’s economic trajectory this year.

This is according to Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Plc’s financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020 posted on the Lusaka Securities Exchange (LuSE).

In an order of the board, Company Secretary, Rose Kavimba, indicated that the progress around debt restructuring discussions and an IMF funded programme would positively impact the economic path for Zambia this year.

“Having proactively and effectively managed risk, appropriately reshaped the business, and refocused around the right business opportunities, we are optimistic about the bank’s continued sustainable growth and profitability to deliver healthy returns to shareholders, and prosperity for our clients,” Ms Kavimba said.

She however said the macro-economic variables in 2021 were projected to remain under pressure, coupled with the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as 2021 being an election year.

Ms Kavimba said revenue for the institution rose by only seven per cent in comparison to 2019, which was mainly on account of increased income from investment securities.

This was negated by an 11 percent decline on interest income from loans and advances which was on account of the bank’s de-risking exercise notably of the personal loan book in retail banking, rationalising limits in corporate, commercial and institutional banking and the running down and exiting of the commercial banking business.

Ms Kavimba said non funded income reduced by 12 percent year on year on account of reduced activities.

She said loans and advances to customers dropped by 24 percent in line with the bank’s strategy to de-risk and manage low returning assets which resulted in the personal loan book reduction of 27 percent on year.

Ms Kavimba said customer deposits rose by 31 percent with an increase in both retail banking and corporate, commercial and institutional banking client accounts.

“We will continue to leverage on our cost optimisation initiatives and enhanced revenue momentum supported by a strong statement of financial position and dedicated team,” she said.

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