The Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Liz Lloyd, told a news conference that after a strong performance last year, they were seeing a promising future, especially after re-capitalising by retaining a 100 per cent or 35.5bn/- of its 2011 profits.
“Our balance sheet is in good shape,” Ms Liz said, “we are highly liquid and after a capital injection of 23.5bn/- by the Group, last year, we are here for good,” the CEO said. The bank said when announcing the Group results via teleconference, that the loan impairment went down by 18 per cent reflecting a good quality of its loan book.
Ms Lloyd said: “we are maintaining a firm grip on the levers of risks,” and the fully functioning of Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) would help to mitigate further rates of risk. She said the current debate of lowering lending interest rate would not just happen without looking and correcting some parameters that are computing to determine the rates.
“A bank cannot just lower the rates without looking at underlying risks-the rates depend very much on the lending securities,” the CEO said. Other components that push up lending rates are mainly macroeconomic fundamentals such as inflation and reserves.
In the recent past politicians including ministers have it that lending rates are on the high side to choke investment and development of the economy. They urged commercial banks to lower the rates so as to speed up the economic growth as the higher the rate the lower the borrowers.
The Standard Chartered Bank, though could not name the average lending rate charged for it customers, said the interest varied per loan application size, the applicant and form what segment-retail (SMEs) or wholesale (Corporate).
On Africa front, the CEO said it represents eight per cent of Group total income of 19.7 billion US dollars where three markets - Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana - contributed over 200 million US dollars. The rest includes Tanzania over 100 US dollars.
“These three markets differ with Tanzania-but we are a growing economy with full of potentials,” Ms Lloyd said. Last year, over 50 per cent of client income in wholesale banking was generated outside of the home market country of the Group’s clients.