OVER 300 000 CABS depositors will struggle to access their funds, as cash in building society’s coffers significantly dropped to $2,09 million in the full year ending December 31, 2017 from the comparable period the previous year.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The decline in cash was from the $6,57 million realised in 2016.
Despite the low levels of cash in the society’s vaults, CABS net surplus increased by 7,3% to $42,11 million for the period under review from $39,23 million in 2016.
In a statement accompanying their financial results on Friday, CABS said the cash in the bank vaults also included bond notes.
“Included in cash and cash equivalents are bond notes which the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) began issuing gradually into the economy in November 2016 to ease the shortage of physical cash. The bond notes are pegged at an exchange rate of 1:1 with the United States dollar,” CABS said.
This comes as depositors of the building society are still queuing for cash in the central business district, a situation which based on the results is likely to continue.
To address these physical cash constraints, CABS has adopted a strategy to pursue more e-platforms to lessen the need for physical cash from depositors.
However, the strategy to pursue more e-platforms may be paying off as CABS chairman Leonard Tsumba said non-interest income increased by 27%.
“Non-interest income grew by 27% as a result of volume increases although this was tempered by the regulator caps on certain bank charges,” he said.
The growth of non-interest income for the period under review was from commissions, service fees and administration fees and was $57,19 million from $44,28 million realised in 2016.
As at the end of August 2017, CABS reported having over 300 000 depositors, which were up from the prior period, but still only had under $4 million cash in their bank vaults at the time.
Net interest income marginally increased to $58,57 million for the period under review from $58,51 million in 2016.
“Interest rate margins decreased in 2017 as a result of market conditions and RBZ caps on interest rates for productive loans. As a result, net interest income was constant at $59 million (2016: $59 million) despite a 15% growth in loans and advances over the prior year,” Tsumba said.
Going forward, Tsumba said, they were making progress in the bank’s long term strategy to better serve customers.
Operating expenses rose to $71,22 million during the period under review from 2016’s $60,24 million.
The net interest margin for the period under review was about 6%, showing CABS investment strategy is paying off for them.
The net interest margin measures the difference between interest income and expenses.
This measurement is important because it indicates whether a bank’s asset and liability management is being done properly, so that it earns substantial income on its assets and has low costs on its liabilities.