BRITISH bank Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe Limited (Stanchart) has reported that it is already in compliance with new capital levels and is "well positioned to support the growth and expansion of Zimbabwean business".
In a statement accompanying financial results for the half year to June 30, 2012, acting board chairperson, Samuel Rushwaya, said Stanchart had surpassed the new capital threshold for commercial banks of US$25 million by December 31, 2012.
"The bank is adequately capitalised at US$62 million compared to the minimum regulatory capital of US$12,5 million," Rushwaya said.
In his mid-term monetary policy review presented this month, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono increased to US$100 million the minimum capital requirements for commercial and merchant banks from the current levels of US$12,5 million and US$10 million respectively.
He gave the banks until 2014 to meet the new thresholds.
But the move has sparked fears that more banks, particularly indigenously-owned institutions, would fold due to a liquidity crunch and an absence of a thriving cash market for recourse by shareholders.
Several banks have collapsed over the past year, largely due to acts of delinquency, mismanagement and poor capitalisation.
Rushwaya said Stanchart was already past capital struggles, indicating that even its capital adequacy ratio had overtaken the central bank's benchmark.
"The capital adequacy ratio of 26,75 percent exceeds the prescribed minimum regulatory ratio of 10 percent (revised to 12 percent with effect from August 1 2012 and enables the bank to meet all prudential lending guidelines," said Rushwaya.
Stanchart registered a profit after tax of US$8 million during the review period, compared with US$12,7 million recorded during the same period last year.
Loans and advances grew by 7,6 percent year on year. Consumer borrowing more specifically targeted at small and medium scale enterprises, dominated the commercial bank's lending portfolio.
Operating expenses were up 13 percent to US$18 million, from US$16 million over the comparable period last year.
Rushwaya said staff costs continued to be the largest contributor to operating expense at 58 percent of total costs, although this was down from 59 percent during the half year to June 2011.
He said the cost-to-income ratio was generally in line with 2011 levels at 59 percent.
Rushwaya said the economic environment in the first half of the year remained challenging. This sentiment was reiterated by government's downward revision of the official 2012 Gross Domestic Product growth forecast from 9,4 percent to 5,6 percent this year due to lower than expected contribution from mining, tourism and agricultural sectors.
Rushwaya said the bank was committed to maintaining its status as a premium international franchise.
"Our strategy remains consistent, to be the world's best international bank leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East," said Rushwaya.
He said the group's strong presence in high growth markets ensured that the bank is well positioned to support the growth and expansion of Zimbabwean business, as well as promote economically enhancing trade corridor opportunities with key regions such as China, India, the Middle East and intra-Africa.