In the presentation of the results for the financial year 2021, “direct communication” was the first factor highlighted by the newly appointed CEO of the bank, Bernardo Aparicio, who, in the presentation session of the results for last year, began by highlighting that Standard Bank “remains solid, robust and profitable, with very positive results, (close to 5 billion meticals of profit), only 9% below that achieved in 2020,” which justifies “with the impact of some non-recurring situations.”
In the same period, income grew by 8%, from 13.9 billion to 15 billion meticais and, in turn, the financial margin increased by 20%, from 8.9 billion to 10.7 billion meticais.
He then highlighted “the return on equity, to shareholders in the order of 16.6%”, and an overall positive also, given the context of the pandemic and its impact on economic activity, at the level of revenue and cost line. “During this period there were many companies that, as we know, had a reduction in their activity and here the banks in general had a fundamental role to ensure that they passed through this difficult period continuing their activity.”
And he also highlighted “the confidence that clients have in us, which can be measured by the increase in deposits and the increase in the credit ratio, which grew 7%, from 35.8 to 39.5%”, data that, for the CEO, “are remarkable given the context that was lived in 2021”.
In terms of capital, Standard Bank maintains a robust position presenting a solvency ratio of 22.2%, significantly above the regulatory minimum of 12% plus an additional 2% required of the bank by the regulator in view of the systemic bank classification.
The liquidity ratio stood at 76.5%, well above the 25% required by regulation, which means that the bank is adequately capitalized and has the liquidity necessary for future growth opportunities.
The increase in operating costs, on the other hand, is justified by the “investment made at the systems level, in the solidity and robustness, as well as in the digitalization of services, within the strategy of being ready for the future operating as a business platform and not only as a bank.”
Another important point has to do with impairments, which reflect significant growth, which, moreover, has been generally reflected in the accounts of virtually the entire banking sector for the same period, and is explained “by the support in debt restructuring, strengthening provisions and liquidity support to SMEs and other support, such as the ‘Accelerate your business’ program in which we delivered relevant amounts to SMEs to recapitalize.”
Net interest income increased 20%, with the most sensitive point of the year being the 21% drop in financial operations that the bank explains as being due to “the shorter intervention time in the foreign exchange market” as well as the “exchange rate oscillations during the first semester, which naturally impacted the most exposed banks, as is the case of Standard.”
The fine and suspension of Standard Bank from the foreign exchange market was, moreover, the cause with the greatest effect on the results presented: “On the cost side, the fines are public. Then we saw a decrease in foreign exchange market transactions and on the deposit side there was a decrease in dollar deposits. For the bank’s future results these were one-off impacts and this year we are confident that the results will be better than last year.”
As for the process that culminated in the suspension of the bank’s previous managing director in 2021, Bernardo Aparicio clarifies that Standard and Banco de Moçambique have been working “closely” since then. “There is a list of actions that the bank has to perform to remedy the deficiencies identified by the Central Bank and that is what happened, including the appointment of new figures to relevant positions. And the bank was then allowed to continue serving its foreign currency customers. But, it is worth remembering that the bank is still suspended from interbank activity, it has been nine months, and 12 months were announced,” he explains. “We have been working very closely with the Central Bank but it is a job that takes time and we hope that the time will come for us to return to the interbank market. More than anything, the main note is that the bank remains solid, with a careful and rigorous management of resources (balance sheet), which gives us guarantees that we are ready for the future,” he assured.