15 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Barclays PLC Gives Zim Unit U.S $40 Million

BARCLAYS Bank Plc will give $40 million in lines of credit to its local unit this month to boost its underwriting capacity, after advancing a similar amount last year, an official said on Thursday.

"We have received lines of credit from within the group and that is because the group has seen opportunities as we have seen them," Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe chief finance officer, Samuel Matsekete, told a press briefing after the annual general meeting.

"Last year, it was $40 million. By end of May we might probably double that amount. We are comfortable that we still continue to have the support of the group."

Managing director George Guvamatanga told shareholders that net interest income for the four months to April was 13 percent higher than the same period last year.

Non-funded income was subdued, recording a growth of one percent, reflecting constrained growth in transactional activity.

While incomes have grown on the back of a low level of non-performing loans, more policy reforms are required to boost economic activity, Guvamatanga said.

"The economic landscape requires significant decisive interventions to enhance investor confidence, promote local production and contain imports bill. Clarity on key policies that local and foreign investors consider, is critical," he said.

The bank has maintained non-performing loans at one percent against an industry average of 16 percent.

"Under a stable to improving economic landscape Barclays would sustain growth in the loan book and offshore lines of credit from current levels.

"At the current rate, the bank would close the year at lower than planned loan and deposit levels," Guvamatanga said.

The bank will continue efforts to enhance and integrate e-channel platforms while cost, scale and efficiency initiatives will become more critical, he added.

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