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 programme. The group said the agency banking program continues to be a strong driver of customer growth and deposit capture.
In line with the growth in use of plastic money in Zimbabwe due to cash shortages, BancABC also upgraded its digital platforms during the financial year. The programme included the reintroduction of mobile banking as well as adding instant interbank transfers.
Additionally, the bank also rolled out over 1 000 point of sale (POS) terminals to enhance efficiency and ease of transacting.
“Our agency banking programme continues to be a strong driver of customer growth and deposit capture and 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,” said group chairman Bob Diamond.
The group’s net income rose to $45, 4 million for the year to December 31, 2017 from prior year’s $8, 4 million on the back of strong performance and enhanced efficiencies across its various markets.
Overall, the group’s revenue was 7 percent above prior year on continued focus on lower cost of funding, revenue growth, increased net interest margins, and the full year impact of the Zambia acquisition.
In 2017, Atlas Mara’s focus was on managing down higher risk portfolios in certain countries where the group had a cautious credit risk appetite.
This has resulted in muted loan book growth for the financial services group. Resultantly, the group narrowed its non-performing loans (NPL) ratio for the year to December 31, 2017 to 11,8 percent from 13,3 percent, thanks to robust recovery efforts in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.
“We achieved significant NPL recoveries in our legacy NPL portfolio, driving a substantial improvement in NPL ratio. Excluding certain accounts in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which are already in the legal process for recovering the collateral, the group’s NPL ratio reduces to 9,3 percent from the reported 11,8 percent,” said Mr Diamond.
Atlas Mara’s total loan impairment charge by year end was 44, 8 percent above prior year to $22, 3 million from $15, 4 million on the back of additional impairments in Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe adjustments.
Despite increase in recoveries in Zimbabwe, there was also an increase in portfolio impairments resulting in an overall increase in the impairment charge for the year.
Management said the group would continue to focus on restructuring and recovering further from the legacy NPL book.