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Bank profits defy COVID-19

MBONGENI MGUNI
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Local commercial banks' collective net incomes dropped to P1.57 billion in 2020, from P1.78 billion in 2019, in a display of resilience despite the effects of COVID-19.

Nearly all commercial banks provided loan repayment relief to customers last year, as well as other interventions to help customers cope with the impact of COVID-19. 

The pandemic ripped through consumers’ disposable incomes and their ability to service loan commitments, while also making banks risk averse in terms of extending new credit. Banks also saw their margins tightened by a 100 basis point reduction in the bank rate, as the Bank of Botswana eased monetary policy in

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order to encourage economic activity.

According to the latest central bank data, local banks’ collective net interest income was marginally higher in 2020 at P4.38 billion compared to P4.36 billion in 2019.

Provisions for bad or doubtful debts were higher in 2020 at P835.8 million compared to P774.7 million in 2019, reflecting the weaker loan quality situation with customers under COVID-19. Banks non-interest expenses were up in 2020 at P4.35 billion, versus P4.19 billion in 2019.



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