Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited posted a profit after tax of $22 million in 2017, representing a 123.4% increase from the $9.9 million profit the bank recorded in 2016.
In the year 2017, the bank introduced several groundbreaking technologies to reinforce its digital strategy with the bank’s digital transformation resulting in a lot of cost savings and increased efficiency that saw the streamlining of the bank’s physical branch network during the financial period by restructuring three unprofitable branches and replacing them with agency banking outlets.
By Pearson Mbendera
In the Managing Director’s Statement, Mr Moses Kurenjekwa said that the bank is pushing ahead with the digital transformation of all of its business lines and delivery channels, and that the initiatives have gone a long way in complementing the existing suite of electronic channels which allow customers of the Bank to access banking services outside physical branches.
“The Bank is pushing ahead with the digital transformation of all of its business lines and delivery channels. Our role as a provider of financial services has undergone a significant transformation in order to remain relevant and serve today’s clients. The transformational mobile phone penetration has also introduced new avenues to serve our clients,” said Mr Kurenjekwa.
Some of the technological initiatives the bank introduced last year include the Scan and Pay innovation through Masterpass and mVisa QR Codes, the KYC lyte account, and the bank also partnered with Visa to introduce domestic settlement in the Zimbabwe market among others.
The increase in profit was mainly attributed to a year-on-year increase of 851 per cent in Net Interest Income added to a 48 per cent year -on-year increase in Non-Interest Income. The increase in Net Interest Income was due to the increased investment in Treasury Bills from $611 million at the beginning of the year to 5185.2 million at the end of the year.
An interim dividend of $2.3 million was issued and paid to shareholders registered on the company’s books as at 30 September 2017. The bank had a capitalization of $77.3 million, which is above the prescribed minimum levels and well ahead of the RBZ approved capital plan.
The macroeconomic environment was dominated by the country’s negative balance of payments position arising from a net trade deficit of $1.5 billion which was a significant improvement from the $2.1 billion recorded in 2016.
Ecobank Board Chairman, Mr David Whatman reflected on 2017 as a positive year with the year’s continuing fine mix of problems and prospects providing both fertile ground for the ongoing review of strategies. He also said the bank was looking forward to the year 2018 with the bank’s digital platforms providing banking solutions that deliver service and meet customer transaction requirements.
“The bank remains positive about the prospects for further growth in its chosen niche markets and looks forward to 2018 with optimism as more customers are on-boarded onto our digital platforms and gain confidence in banking solutions that deliver service and meet customer transaction requirements,” said Mr Whatman.