Nations Trust Bank posts Rs. 3b PAT | Sunday Observer

Nations Trust Bank posts Rs. 3b PAT

Chairman Gehan Cooray and CEO Renuka Fernando
Chairman Gehan Cooray and CEO Renuka Fernando

Nations Trust Bank closed the year ending December 31, 2018 with a post-tax profit of Rs. 3,702 million, up by 10 percent over previous year in a difficult operating environment which witnessed increased non-performing loans, tightening of liquidity, moderation of credit growth and higher taxes and levies. The Bank steered its resources in consolidating of selective portfolios and managing impairment.

Net interest income increased by 27% mainly attributed to growth in volumes (up by 21%) and better management of NIMs, despite tight liquidity in the market exerting pressure on cost of deposits.

Concerted efforts towards increasing fee-based activity resulted in the Group’s non-interest income increasing 18% during the year. Trade, Card and Bancassurance together with structured financing fess contributed primarily towards this growth. Net trading losses narrowed (dropped by 24%) during the period due to lower amount of losses arising from FX funding SWAPs. Bank continued to adopt the strategy of utilising FX SWAP book to fund its rupee loan growth due to the benefit arising from the relatively lower funding costs of the FX SWAPS compared to high cost rupee deposits. FX income arising from customer and trading also recorded a good growth for the year arising from both increased volumes and favourable exchange rate movements.

Impairment charges for the year increased significantly due to growth in the loan book, cash flow stresses witnessed in some segments from subdued economic conditions and due to the implementation of SLFRS 9, with the more forward-looking “expected credit loss” model which requires banks to exercise judgement on how changes in economic factors may affect expected credit loss. The Bank strengthened edits underwriting and post disbursement monitoring with better alignment of collection processes.

Expenses recorded a growth of 15% mainly due to expenses from investments for the future in areas of digital, infrastructure, training and development and brand visibility. The Group’s Cost: Income ratio continued to record consistent improvement, declining below 50% for the first time to record 47.81% in 2018 from 51.57% reported in the previous year.

Loan book growth was mainly driven by Corporate Banking (+46%) followed by Credit Cards (+25%) and Leasing (+20%). Growth in the Consumer and SME segments were relatively moderate at 15% and 11%, reflecting stressed market conditions and the Bank’s efforts in consolidating these portfolios. Deposits recorded a growth of 19%, while CASA recording a subdued growth of 7%. The Bank continued to diversify its funding base by securing a USD 50 million funding line from a DFI in August 2018.

The Group’s Tier 1 and overall Capital Adequacy Ratios strengthened to 12.15% and 15.59% by year end following the capital raised through a Rs. 3.20 billion rights issue and a Rs. 3.5 billion five-year debenture issue in April 2018.

CEO and Executive Director Renuka Fernando said, “Our performance for the year demonstrates our resilience during testing times and our ability to progress towards our medium term strategic goals.”