Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

15 February 2013

Namibia: FNB Rakes in N$350 Million From Banking Fees

FNB has reported an 18% growth in banking fees and commission income to N$350 million in the six months ended 31 December 2012.

In total, non-interest income increased by 20% to N$403 million.The country's largest bank by assets, attributed the increase to a good growth in accounts and transaction volumes.

Earnings per share from continuing operations increased by 14% to 121.3 cents, up from 106.7 cents in 2011. Headline earnings per share increased by 12% to 121.3 cents.

Year on year advances also increased 18% to N$16 billion. Main categories of growth were: overdrafts and fair value advances 31%, WesBank 15%, term loans 15% and home loans 14%. Deposits grew by 5% to N$17 billion.

Profit increased by 12% to N$292 million compared to N$261 million in 2011. The group declared an interim dividend of 46 cents in January 2013 compared to 41 cents last year.

Net interest income increased by 10% to N$488 million up from N$443 million. The bank says margins have been well managed through the low interest rate cycle.

Over the past year, cellphone banking transactions have increased by 83% and internet banking volumes are up 18%. However, foreign exchange income at N$32 million was marginally down on the corresponding period last year, on lower volumes and increased competition.

In the period under review, FNB saw its non-interest expenditure increase by 10% to N$441 million. The higher than inflation cost escalation has been attributed to new representation points, additional staff, the roll out of Account Opening Optimisation and E-wallet system development costs.

The ratio of non-performing loans to average gross advances continued to improve, reducing to 0.9% from 1.3% in 2011. Non-performing loans fell 19% to N$136 million from N$168 million the previous year.

Going forward, FNB says the construction of the Husab mining project and the Otjikoto gold mine, set to start this year will hold positive knock-on effects for growth. "For example, the N$21 billion Husab project will employ between 4,000 and 6,000 people during construction, which augers well for domestic spending," says FNB.

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