By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
STANDARD Chartered Bank Zambia Plc has reclaimed its traditional place in the top four tier earners on the commercial banking score board as its total income grew 71.0 percent to slightly over K1.1 billion.
This was supported by market gains on duration risk in government securities on the interest rate trading portfolio while credit impairment write backs in excess of K111 million further propelled contribution.
According to third quarter financial statements released, non-interest income drivers included decent foreign exchange flows which in addition to a 30.2 percent ebb in year on year non-interest expenses scaled the banks margins higher.
This reflected a stronger positive jaws position with sharp decline in cost to income ratio to 50.2 percent from 90.8 percent a year ago.
Meanwhile, the bank grew its after tax earnings to K405.98 million from a loss of K155.2 million a year ago.
The London incorporated franchise last year revolved between business reorgani-sation tangles, as part of a global group push towards focusing on profitable mar-kets which led to closure of some physical branches in the quest to shift to a more digital channelled service strategy.
Other loss performance or margin erosion drivers in prior year included, a very cautious risk appetite stance in the wake of Zambia’s fiscal fragilities that ampli-fied its credit risk posture from the downgrade effects.
Commenting on this development, the Kwacha Arbitrageur magazine indicated that: “the market remains eager to gauge the payoff of the digital strategy that underpinned closure of some physical channels in a controversial strategy to sup-port leaner costs at a time the banks peers were consolidating their presence in outskirt towns of Zambia.
“With improved macroeconomic prospects in the copper producer, it is expected that the bank will ease its risk appetite in extending balance sheet to key sectors such as mining and manufacturing.”