The country’s commercial banks recorded collective after-tax profits of P1.88 billion in 2021, compared to P1.57 billion in 2020, as the industry soared above pre-pandemic levels of financial performance.
In 2019, the year before COVID-19 arrived in the country, the country’s commercial banks recorded collective after-tax profits of P1.78 billion.
Bank of Botswana figures released recently indicate that the profitability recorded in 2021 was the second highest in the last ten years, only surpassed by the P2.02 billion recorded in 2018.
The central bank data indicates that a major driver of bank profits last year was lower provisions for bad and doubtful debts which fell to P470 million across the banks, from P836 million in 2020.
In 2020, banks made higher provisions for bad and doubtful debts due to the impact of COVID-19 on their customers’ ability to repay their loans. The banks also instituted repayment holidays for many customers, as a way of helping them return to a position where they could continue with their payment obligations. The banks’ non-interest incomes were also higher in 2021 at P2.98 billion compared to P2.78 billion, as the switch to digital channels continued to reap dividends for the sector.
Other Bank of Botswana data indicates that banks’ collective arrears reached P5.22 billion in December 2021, down from P5.55 billion in December 2020. The drop was despite banks’ expanding their collective loans books by P3.3 billion over the same period.