FNB Botswana profits drop


First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), a unit of the FNB group, has recorded a drop in interim profits despite an increase in advances, company executives told the media on Friday.

For the six months to December 2014, FNBB reported a profit of P343.3 million (about R414.5m), down five percent on the previous reporting period.

“We continue to operate under a tough trading environment,” said acting CEO Richard Wright.

“We also see more consumers borrowing, but fewer of them are depositing.”

During the period under review, the company saw advances climb 16 percent to close at a record high of P127.7 billion (about R154bn).

The growth came mainly from property, and Wesbank and Rand Merchant Bank term loans.

Wright said that amid declining disposable income FNBB was challenged to pick profit as a result of a relatively lower interest rate.

On Wednesday, the Bank of Botswana cut the key-lending rate by one percent to 6.5 percent.

FNBB, which appointed Steven Bogatsu as CEO this week, would continue to look for other revenue growth.

“We are coming with new products to move away from interest linked revenue,” said chief financial officer Boitumelo Bogopa.

Publicly listed FNBB, which has more than 400,000 clients, plans to increase transactional banking with clients.

The launch of 24-hour deposit-taking machines during the period increased customer transactions.

Going forward, FNBB executives said they would continue to contain costs without compromising the quality of services offered. An interim dividend of five thebe had been declared to shareholders.

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