The country’s largest commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), is set for bumper profits, according to a cautionary note from the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed lender.
The bank announced that its profit before tax (PBT) for the year ended June 2023 will be 15 to 20 percent higher than the P1.2 billion it earned for the year ended June 2022, and likely to take the new profit to as high as P1.4 billion – its largest earnings to date.
In the six months ended 31 December 2022, FNBB reported profit after tax of P536 million, up from P450 million in the same period in 2021. The bank’s loan book went up from P14.2 billion to P15.9 billion, while customer deposits also grew from P20.4 billion to P21.6 billion.
The 19 percent growth in profit after tax was powered by 33 percent increase in interest income, rising from P696 million to P925 million, thanks to the Bank of Botswana’s decision to increase the monetary policy rate by 1.51 percent, driving up the costs of loans. With higher interest rate, FNBB says it also benefitted from the optimization of their investment securities as they increased holdings in treasury bills and bonds. The Botswana government unveiled a P30 billion programme in 2020, borrowing through treasury bills and bonds from the market.
Though interest expense surged by 81 percent, up from P124.6 million to P226 million, the bank’s income was padded by non-interest revenue that jumped from P718.6 million to P757.2 million, led by strong performance in foreign exchange, service and other fees as the bank experienced growth in eWallet volumes, a popular way of sending money to non-FNB account holders. With soaring profits, FNBB declared an interim dividend of 12 thebe to shareholders. In its war chest, the bank with P28 billion assets, had P6.5 billion in cash.