Namibia: Bank Repossessions On the Rise

NAMIBIAN commercial banks repossessed cars, properties and equipment valued at N$88 million at the end of March this year, data from Bank of Namibia shows.

This figure was before Covid-19's impact was felt in its fullness in the country, and it is expected that with the impact of the virus, the figure will rise even further.

At the beginning of the year, repossessed items were only worth N$65 million and with many businesses closing and individuals being retrenched, this figure will skyrocket.

At the beginning of 2017, repossessed items were only at N$3,2 million; they shot up to N$28 million at the beginning of 2018, and by mid-2019, they had reached N$53 million.

The banks also had about N$204 million worth of assets that were brought in or repossessed at the end of March this year, which they are still struggling to sell - a major part of that is in property, with a market value of N$175 million [N$114 million worth of houses and N$60 million worth of commercial real estate].

Individuals and companies have complained to the Bank of Namibia about repossession procedures followed by commercial banks last year, some saying they were not well informed on the procedures when companies and individuals were signing the loan agreements.

Commercial banks have given out loans worth N$104 billion - with residential and commercial real estate leading the pack with N$53,6 billion, instalment debtors, hire purchases, suspensive sales at N$10,5 billion and personal loans at N$7 billion at the end of March.

Data from the central bank shows that these loans are mainly funded by N$107 billion worth of deposits - mainly sourced from current accounts [N$29 billion], call accounts [N$21 billion], savings deposits [N$3,6 billion] and other deposit instruments making up the balance.

The income statement of all commercial banks as produced by the Bank of Namibia shows that from January to March this year, interest income earned was N$3 billion, and interest expenses stood at N$1,6 billion.

Non-performing loans over the same period stood at N$5,3 billion.

In neighbouring South Africa, Bloomberg last week reported that expectations for non-performing loans for 2020 will reach 10% of the banks' loan book. The 10% is at least N$400 billion.

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