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MBABANE – FNB Swaziland’s financial performance showed an improvement in profit before tax to reach E258 million.

The improvement, as reflected in financial statements for the period ended June 30, 2018, was 8.2 per cent from the prior year, where profits were at E238.2 million. 

Chairman of the Board of Directors Joseph Ndlangamandla said earnings after tax increased by 16 per cent, a return to a positive growth trend following a year in which regulatory restrictions weighed heavily on results.

Ndlangamandla reported that the current year’s performance had been achieved on the back of a domestic economy that had continued to battle slow growth and regional economic indicators that were concerning, especially in the near term.

It was explained that the primary driver of this year’s results had been continued investment in automation and the roll out of digital solutions. He said while the technology comes at a substantial expense that reflects in their cost line, the benefits extracted through larger transactional volumes supported the strategic call made.

The chairman said they were constantly noting that technology on its own was neither transformative nor game changing unless it was supported by the trust customers place on it.
“It is particularly telling that in less than a year of full scale introduction, ADTs are now handling nearly half of all FNB customer deposits, whilst the FNB Banking App was used 270 000 times in the past year to transact nearly half a billion Emalangeni, a 99 per cent increase from last year,” said Ndlangamandla.

It was pointed out that customers continued to search for solutions they could trust. FNB said they saw significant potential in continuing to convert many to the seamless world of self-service.
“It has been a difficult year to pursue lending opportunities due to prevailing conditions,” said Ndlangamandla. 

The chairman said in the wake of very stringent new accounting standards and a tougher credit environment, they had treaded the credit landscape very cautiously and were successful in mitigating additional credit loss risk, despite growth in the book.

“The outlook for lending remains aligned to the economy, and we shall continue to manage emerging risks responsibly. Due to expected slow advances growth, and as part of our balance sheet management, our deposit book was managed to protect margins,” Ndlangamandla explained.

The chairman of the bank, whose Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Dennis Mbingo, said while they acknowledge known concerns over the state of the domestic and regional economies, they  still see significant opportunity in partnering with local businesses and stakeholders to do the simpler things that can be done to contribute to future growth.

He said in this respect, they would be partnering with the FNB Foundation to create a fund to help ‘start-up’ businesses at the micro level.
“We have also started an internal programme to ‘Buy Swati’, with the aim of ensuring that the majority of our supplies are sourced locally, wherever quality standards can be met. This is aligned to the strategic aim of some of our partners in the private sector,” added Ndlangamandla.

 Mbingo recently disclosed that they had received approval from the FNB Foundation to finance a revolving fund for start-ups to the tune of E1 million as an initial offering which could be increased in the near future.
The CEO said the bank was ecstatic to announce that their dream to provide start-up capital for visionary and aspiring entrepreneurs would eventually see the light of day.

Mbingo said as a financial institution that provides credit to both individuals and businesses, they were fully cognisant of both the emotional and physical strength that one needs to exude before they could successfully establish a business through credit financing. He explained that they had noted that most emaswati, especially in the rural areas, would love to operate successful businesses but do not have the necessary resources, which include but not limited to, assets which may be placed as collateral in order to be granted credit.

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