BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
STEWARD Bank recorded a 42% increase in profit-after-tax to ZWL$31,9 million in the year ended February 28, 2019 from ZWL$22,5m recorded in the previous year, driven by growth in non-interest income.
During the period under review, non-interest income grew 43% to ZWL$90,2m from ZWL$63m while funded income nearly doubled from ZWL$13m to ZWL$21m.
In a statement accompanying the bank’s financial results, chairman Bernard Chidzero said aggressive customer acquisition had led to growth in income.
“Digital platforms are an efficient method of delivering inclusive services and overcoming existing barriers to access. The bank will continue to pursue a digital strategy as the benefits of going digital provide an unmatched value proposition for customers,” he said.
Operating costs were up more than 90% from ZWL$37,5m to ZWL$68m, resulting in a cost to income ratio of 61% from the 49% recorded in 2018. Staff costs to income ratio came out at 17% compared to 13% in prior year.
Total assets grew to ZWL$935m from ZWL$471m recorded in prior year due to an increase in demand deposits, which more than doubled to ZWL$747m from ZWL$342m in the prior year. The bank’s liabilities, at ZWL$805m, more than doubled from last year’s ZWL$363,3m. They constitute ZWL$751,3m deposits, a line of credit of ZWL$2,25m, deferred tax of ZWL$3,6m and other liabilities.
Chidzero said the devaluation of the interbank foreign market rate resulted in rising foreign obligations upon re-measurement in ZWL$ leading to foreign exchange losses.
Going forward, the bank said it would invest in its digital systems and infrastructure.