The country’s commercial banks recorded collective after-tax profits of P2.7 billion in 2022, comfortably their highest profits ever on record.
Previously, the highest after-tax profits the banks enjoyed was in 2018 at P2.02 billion. Bank of Botswana (BoB) figures released last week indicate that the collective net interest incomes of commercial banks rose to P5 billion last year from P4.4 billion in 2021.
Provisions for bad and doubtful debts in 2022 fell by about 85% to P72.1 million, as banks reaped the rewards of tighter risk controls put in place since the pandemic broke out.
First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), the country’s largest bank by both balance sheet and customer numbers, recently reported a decline in total impairments of 20% for the half year ended December 2022. Most banks tightened their credit risk protocols after the onset of COVID-19 three years ago and have maintained the same rigour to today.
“FNBB has continued to deploy its financial resources appropriately and prudently, with conservative capital and provisioning levels,” the bank’s directors said in a results commentary issued recently. “This has allowed the bank to respond to customer needs by extending credit selectively without relaxing its overall credit parameters.”
The banks continued making losses on their non-interest incomes, with expenses outstripping earnings by about P1.4 billion in 2022.
The BoB recently said besides being profitable and stable, the local banking sector had efficient and robust market infrastructure, prudent management, as well as an effective regulation and supervision.