Barclays Bank Ghana has reported a 40% jump in 2011 after-tax earnings on the back of lower impairment costs and a fall in operational expenses. The bank’s after-tax profit went up to GH¢83million from GH¢59.2million the year before, Managing Director Benjamin Dabrah said last week.

He said loan-impairment charges were down to GH¢6million from GH¢20.8million in 2010, and operational costs dropped marginally to GH¢105.8million from GH¢114.6million.

“We believe we are back for good to the top-end of the banking industry where Barclays belongs,” Mr. Dabrah said.

A top-five lender by assets, Barclays saw an overdrive in impairment losses to GH¢60.9 million in 2009, which contributed to a loss after tax of GH¢18 million. But a swift recovery began in 2010, with loan losses dropping to GH¢20.8million and earnings after tax rising to GH¢59.2million.

The upturn was also helped by measures such as a slowdown in branch expansion, which curbed the rapid rise in operational costs, with more focus on delivering high-quality and more efficient services.

Last year, Barclays removed charges on ATM transactions and requests for statements, and broadened the reach of its Internet banking and SMS alert services.

“We had to go back to the basics and focus on the customer and doing things properly, ensuring that we price right and keep our key stakeholders such as staff and customers happy,” Mr. Dabrah said.

The bank’s balance sheet added GH¢300million to GH¢1.9billion in 2011, he said, with much of the growth attributable to an expansion in credit to the real sector of the economy.

“Our loans and advances to customers in the private sector grew by 35%, and goes contrary to claims that banks are not lending.” He said the outlook for 2012 is positive, with first quarter results showing the momentum from the previous year has been sustained

Source: B&FT

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