ECONET’S banking unit- Steward Bank’s revenue for the six months to August 31, 2017 jumped 93 percent to $29 million from $15 million achieved during the same period last year on strong transactional growth. The bank registered a tenfold growth in total number of electronic transactions on its platforms.
Profit before tax grew 162 percent from comparable period last year to $11 million. During the period under review, after tax profit of $8,5 million was achieved which led to a return on equity of 22 percent. Cost to income ratio improved to 52 percent from 64 percent in the same period last year.
“Overall performance of the bank was largely driven by a strong growth in non-interest income, which grew by 112 percent from prior year due to a surge in transactional volumes, notably on cards, POS and mobile banking transactions,” said chairman Bernard Chidzero in a statement accompanying financial results.
The banking sector has been hit by unavailability of cash as banks slowed down on the importation of notes into the country and withdrawal limits went down from an average $300 per day at the beginning of the year to $20 by end of the period under review.
The industry’s liquidity averaged above 65 percent driven by growth in RTGS balances as well as maturities on Treasury Bills that are being rolled over, pushing back liquidity to the market.
Despite the challenging environment, the bank is upbeat of maintaining the growth trajectory on its strategies premised on increasing market share and opportunities to offer simplified products and services.