Zimbabwe’s largest bank by depositors, Steward Bank, has shrugged the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and effects of hyperinflation to report impressive financial results in half year to August 31, 2021.
In inflation adjusted terms, Steward Bank’s profit went up 158% to ZWL$355m from ZWL$211m reported in the same period in 2020. The bank’s net interest income jumped 243% to ZWL$706m, up from ZWL$206m in prior year, while non-interest income was ZWL$2bn against ZWL$1.3bn in the corresponding period.
The bank, a subsidiary of EcoCash Holdings Zimbabwe Limited, posted a 263% surge in profit to ZW$252m in historical terms, up from ZW$69m recorded in the half year to August 2020 driven by an increase in net interest income. In historical terms, net interest income was ZWL$648m up from ZWL$90m recorded in the comparable period last year.
In historical terms, non-funded income was ZWL$1.9bn up from ZWL$546m recorded in the same period last year.
The bank also reported a strong liquidity ratio of 47%, sufficiently above the minimum regulatory ratio of 30%. This resulted in the financial technology focused institution’s regulatory capital position being in excess of the minimum regulatory requirements of Tier 1 capital of ZWL$25m as at August 31, 2021.
Steward Bank’s CEO Courage Mashavave said the bank is confident of sustaining the upward trend in performance throughout the current financial year.
Steward Bank, which has over 2 million depositors, commissioned a new core banking system in April 2021, with the investment enabling the bank to accelerate its digital transformation programme.
“We have started to realise the benefits of the system upgrade through better customer experience and operational efficiencies. Coupled with the system upgrade, the bank introduced innovations on our online banking platform and our Square digital banking application, enabling us to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers,” Mashavave said.
In the period under review, Steward Bank zero rated its Square Mobile Application to leverage on digital financial inclusion channels. The zero-rating of the mobile application allows customers to transact without data, thereby ensuring customers have access to financial services at all times.
Mashavave said the financial services institution dispensed more than 55,000 digital loans to women in the half year under review and maintained a POS device complement of slightly above 3 000 in the rural areas, ensuring that sole traders and merchants operating in those areas have access to financial services.
Steward Bank is confident of meeting the new capital thresholds of US$30m by the end of this year after shareholders committed to inject more capital to ensure the bank is compliant.