CRDB Bank's Burundi subsidiary net profit has gone up three times to 2.38bn/- in 2016, despite political challenges engulfing the tiny East African state.
The Burundi operation, with three branches in Bujumbura, in 2015 had posted a net profit of 870m/- and a loss of 3.57bn/- in 2014. CRDB Managing Director Dr Charles Kimei said the subsidiary achievement continues to show the Burundians trust over the bank since opening doors five years ago.
"The political challenges slow us from opening more branches... however, our expansion plans sticks firmly depending on situation on the ground" Dr Kimei said. The bank profitability was an indication that situation in Burundi was not as bad as outsiders believe to be in 2016.
According to the Business Monitor International (BMI), Burundi will post an economic growth of 1.1 per cent in 2016 and a growth of 1.5 per cent in 2017 due to subdued private consumption and contraction of fixed investment in the country.
The signs of making a good profit were seen after closing the last year's fourth quarter when the subsidiary made a profit of 1.06bn/-. Total assets grew down to 140bn/- in 2016 from 154bn/- in 2015 while deposits increased to 67bn/- from 60bn/- correspondingly. Mr Kimei said "we target a market share of at least 5.0 per cent in Burundi in (this year) 2017.
" The bank in this year target between 3.0 and 5.0 per cent of its net income to come from international operations and building a foothold in East Africa markets. Some two years ago the bank announced plans to open subsidiaries in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The bank was looking at the regulatory environments in the two SADC member states and the type of customers and their financial needs.
Zambia and DRC, being landlocked countries, are depending to Tanzania for imports and export shipping thus need banks for transacting their businesses.
There are currently 19 banks registered in Zambia while 29 in DRC with Access Bank, Barclays Bank, Citibank, Ecobank and Stanbic Bank with presence in both countries.
The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) projects political instability in Burundi to continue throughout 2016 and 2017. The civil unrest broke out in the country since the re-election of Pierre Nkurunziza as President in July 2015 for a third consecutive five-year term in office.