Listed National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc has registered a group profit after tax of K22.45billion from K17.16 billion in 2019 representing an increase of 31% for the period ending 31 December 2020.
In a statement signed by the Bank’s Board Chairman Dr George Partridge, Board member Dorothy Ngwira, Chief Executive Officer Macfussy Kawawa and Chief Finance Officer Masauko Katsala, NBM plc says there was a significant growth in non-interest income of 17% while net interest and investment income grew by 9%.
“Overall net revenue grew by 12%. The Bank continued to control expenses within inflation. Operating expenses increased by 7% while impairment losses reduced by 45%.Customer deposits increased by 27% year on year while the Bank’s loan book grew by 6% largely on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Excess funds were invested in Treasury Bills and Treasury Notes which grew by 35%,” reads the statement in part.
The Bank said the expected economic growth for year 2020 was revised downwards to 0.9% from an earlier estimate of 5.0% and that economic activity for the year remained subdued largely on account of both the political uncertainty in the run up to the Fresh Presidential Election and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and the Bankers Association of Malawi implemented some measures to help businesses mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included the reduction of the domestic Liquidity Reserve Requirement from 5% to 3.75% by RBM with a view to releasing some liquidity into the economy, 40% reduction of service fees for digital banking products, and restructuring of loans which included the granting of at least 3 months loan repayment moratoria to businesses that would be affected by the pandemic,” reads part of the statement.
The Bank said Inflation averaged 8.6% in the year down from 9.6% recorded the previous year, anchored by non-food inflation which averaged about 3.8% in the year.
“During the year, the Malawi Kwacha gradually depreciated against all major trading currencies. The weakening of the Kwacha reflected the scarcity of foreign exchange supply amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and a weak exports performance,” reads the statement.
NBM plc also announced that it has entered into negotiations to further acquire 24% stake in Akiba Commercial Bank (ACB) in Tanzania after completing the acquisition of a 51% controlling stake in the foreign bank towards the end of the year 2020.
NBM plc said the directors of the bank have recommended to pay a final dividend of K8 billion, up from K4.3 billion paid last year, making a total dividend of K13 billion in respect of 2020 profits representing K27.84 per ordinary share, up from K17.78 per share in 2019.
“The Bank paid an interim dividend of K2.5b in September 2020 (2019: K2.5b) and a second interim dividend amounting to K2.5b on 31 March 2021 (2019: K1.5b). The final dividend will be payable after approval by the Annual General Meeting scheduled for June 2021,” reads the statement in part.
Commenting on the economic outlook, NBM plc says the economy is expected to grow by 3.5% in 2021 driven by an improved macro-economic environment following availability of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Looking ahead the Board envisages a continuing stable macroeconomic environment. This, however, is dependent on how quickly the Covid- 19 situation is brought under control and economic activity returns to normality. In addition, the acquisition of controlling stake in ACB has opened the door for the Group to realize its regional diversification strategy,” reads the statement in part.