- Biz interruptions affects operating results
Nations Trust Bank PLC (NTB) had been building its loan book, albeit slowly before the pandemic forced the businesses to shutter, which put a strain on its operating performance for the three months ended in March 31, 2020, but the taxes taken off from the industry lifted its bottom line.
The bank reported an interest income of Rs.9.05 billion for the January-March quarter compared to Rs.9.88 billion in the year earlier period as the lender was building its loan book up to the level it had a year ago. NTB had a loan book of Rs.241.6 billion as at March 31, 2019, which came down to Rs.235.2 billion during the nine months to December. The bank started expanding it by Rs.2.7 billion during the first three months of 2020 to end the quarter with Rs.237.9 billion.
But that wasn’t enough to match the interest income of last year as the interest rates were coming down since then and interest ceilings in place.
“However, cost of funds declined at a faster rate of 13 percent due to effective fund management strategies supported by the growth in current and savings account balances.
As a result, reduction in net interest margins was contained to 30 basis points while net interest income reduction was contained at 1 percent,” the bank said in an earnings release.
NTB expects a shortfall in revenue against its targets as a result of the debt moratorium, interest rate ceilings and sluggish demand for credit in the ensuing period of the year. However it does not expect the negative impact to pose a significant stress on the bank’s liquidity.
“The bank is in the process of gathering applications for the debt moratorium by customers and the eligible applications still being reviewed.”
Meanwhile, NTB reported an operating profit before taxes on financial services of Rs.1.81 billion compared to Rs.1.94 billion in the year earlier period as the bank provided Rs.820 million for possible bad loans arising from the pandemic-driven business interruptions.
This is a 68 percent increase from the same period in 2019.
“When assessing the impairment provisions, the bank considered the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on customers as well as the relief package introduced in the form of a debt moratorium by the government,” NTB said.
“Additional impairment provisions were made for identified customer segments impacted due to COVID-19 related developments, by assessing potential delays to the cash flow expectations based on currently available information,” the bank added.
Fee and commission incomes hardly grew between the two periods due to lack of growth in loans.
The bank reported earnings of Rs.3.38 a share or Rs.959 million for the three months under review compared to Rs.2.72 a share or Rs.772.9 million in the year earlier period as the government removed the Debt Repayment Levy and the Nation Building Tax on the banking sector.
The bank had a deposit growth of Rs.6.7 billion during the three months.
John Keells group has 29.51 percent stake in NTB. During the quarter under review, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Limited’s Life Fund entered the top 20 shareholders of the bank with 2,664,000 shares or 1.09 percent stake being the twelfth largest shareholder.