Nedbank turns a profit in 2020 despite pandemic-squeezed operating environment

The economy experienced reduced aggregate demand by consumers and depressed business activity as a result of restrictions put into place to counter the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Nedbank Zimbabwe's Managing Director, Sibongile Moyo
  • Post ZWL$127.3 million profit after tax
  • Operating income grew to ZWL 3.4 billion
  • Significant digital enhancements undertaken in 2020

HARARE – Nedbank Zimbabwe Limited emerged from prior year setbacks, with an impressive financial performance for the year ended 31 December 2020.

The Bank posted a moderate ZWL$127.3 million inflation-adjusted net profit, overturning a hefty loss of ZWL$825.9 million in 2019 as the financial services institution saw significant growth in client base and accounts.

The “strong operating performance” according to the Bank’s Managing Director Sibongile Moyo, was underpinned by non-funded income from significant growth in client base and accounts; high digital platform transaction volume; increasing point of sale (POS) acquiring market share, and moving to second position on Zimswitch acquiring market-wide; foreign exchange trading and translation gains.

Nedbank’s pickup was also bolstered by cost optimisation initiatives which generated a 7% year-on-year reduction in inflation-adjusted operating expenses.

“A conservative forward-looking impairment approach was taken to end the year with increased provisions and nonperforming loans ratio of 0.39% due to adjustments in the ECL model to incorporate deterioration in GDP growth forecasts,” Moyo said in a statement accompanying the financials.

Operating income grew to ZWL$3.4 billion outpacing in inflation terms ZWL$2.9 billion in the prior year. The cost to income ratio improved marginally to 43.1% in historical terms and to 86% from 114% in inflation-adjusted terms over the prior year.

Meanwhile, total assets grew to ZWL$14.2 billion from ZWL$12 billion in the prior year in inflation-adjusted terms outpacing inflation with 18% real growth.

“This was spurred by solid growth in customer deposits to ZWL$11.3 billion from the 2019 figure of ZWL$9.2 billion representing 23% deposit growth in real terms and 453% growth in historical terms from the ZWL$2.0 billion reported in 2019,” said Moyo.

Digital Enhancements

During the reporting period, the Bank made significant strides in enhancing delivery channels for products and services. Some key developments include the introduction of the USD multi-currency on internet banking, mobile banking and ATMs, online account opening on website and mobile banking, mobile wallet transfers from bank to all networks cell phone numbers, remote issuing of debit cards, bulk account opening, self-service online platform administration for corporate clients among others.

According to Moyo, “Digital touchpoints and technology investments made over the reporting period present a solid foundation for an agile business poised for growth”.

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