Republic Bank Ghana Group, a subsidiary of Republic Financial Holdings Limited, posted a profit after tax of GH¢79.1 million for the year. This represented a year-on-year increase of 180.6 percent from the GH¢28.2 million registered in the same period last year.
According to manager of the bank, the profit position demonstrates a healthy improvement over last year’s performance amidst a challenging financial environment.
However, operating expenses for the 2019 period increased by 5.6 percent from the 2018 amount of GH¢201.3 million. Staff costs in particular exceeded expectations due to the higher staffing needs as a result of business expansion and regulatory requirements. Aside staff costs and depreciation, all other operating expenses were largely under control.
Cost control measures put in place yielded improvements in the Group’s cost-to-income ratio of 61.98 percent for the year 2019, compared to 68.73 percent recorded in 2018. The Bank says, it will continue to pursue cost management strategies to further improve its operational efficiency.
Meanwhile, initiatives rolled out during the year resulted in a healthy growth in the Group’s income earnings. Net interest income increased by 23.8 percent from GH¢188.2 million in the year 2018 to GH¢232.9 million in 2019, which can be attributable to the strong asset growth. Non-interest income also increased marginally to GH¢110million during the year, from the GH¢109.4 million recorded in 2018. To reinforce income growth, the Bank is undertaking various digital initiatives designed to broaden its income base.
Despite the impressive profit return, the bank informed shareholders of no dividend payment with the Board Chairman, Charles William Zwennes, noting that the bank is aware of the importance of dividends, and in furtherance of this, it has increased profitability and subsequently increased shareholders value.
“Unfortunately, the increase in the profitability was not enough to reduce the debit balance in the income surplus account, therefore we are unable to pay dividend this year. It is worthy to note that despite the provisions in the Companies Act restricting the payment of dividend, the Group is charting the right path and the ¢are determined and focused to delivering valued results to you, our cherished Shareholders.”
He added that the continuous and consistent growth in the Group’s operations and key indices including value addition appreciation over the years have been phenomenal and the firm commitment from both the will even spur this further.
Speaking on the outlook of the bank for 2020, the Managing Director of the Bank, Farid Antar said: “With cognisance to the ever-evolving banking environment influenced by technology and the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank continues to pursue initiatives to ensure that our services remain relevant and solidify the bank’s performance gains in an increasingly competitive industry. The year 2020 should see the bank reengineer its processes and operations to meet the emerging needs of the market.”
Already, the bank has introduced a number of interventions to support customers and ease the impact of COVID-19 on their operations. These interventions include a six-month moratorium on all loan repayment, up to 2 percent reduction in lending rates, three-months automatic waiver on excess and late fees and a waiver of interbank transfer charges.
Other interventions including debt restructuring and temporary increases in overdraft were offered to customers following the appropriate needs assessment. The Bank is also putting in place measures to visit Customers to further assess the health of their operations and where needed offer the necessary support.