Harare – National Merchant Bank (NMB) has recorded a 17.5 percent increase in transactional volumes for the period between February and April 2019, despite having experienced a slow start to the year as a result of the subdued economic environment.
In a trading update for the four months to April 2019, chief executive Ben Washaya highlighted the difficult operating environment underpinned by soaring inflation and foreign currency shortages persisting even after the introduction of the interbank foreign exchange market in February 2019.
“We now await the market’s reaction to the recently introduced policy measures where the Central Bank has started injecting forex in the inter-bank market which has now been liberalised,” Washaya said.
Washaya said the bank has acquired trucks to boost campaigns for customer acquisitions to compliment growth in customer base which drove growth in transaction volumes during the review period.
NMB also launched a Near Field Communication (NFC) card called Tap Card as it seeks to boost non-funded income along with a strategy to deploy more Point of Sale machines in the market to provide transactional convenience to customers.
“As at 30 April 2019, the bank had deployed a total of 6 514 POS devices into the market,” Washaya said.
Net interest income and non-interest income for the four months to April 2019 were 7.2 percent and 21.6 percent below budget respectively.
Resultantly, operating income for the period was 22.7 percent below budget.
“Given both the improved transactional volumes and the revision in services fees and interest rates, we expect to close this gap in Q2,” Washaya said.
Operating expenses for period were 13 percent below budget, but year on year the operating expenses increased by 37 percent in response to the inflationary pressures.
Equity Axis News
Raynold Mhotseka is a Journalism and Media Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe. He serves as a news writer at financial research firm, Equity Axis where he is currently on attachment.