Rising interest rates and the end of lockdown boost Standard Bank’s profits

Rising interest rates and the end of lockdown boost Standard Bank's profits
Rising interest rates and the end of lockdown boost Standard Bank's profits

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Rising interest rates, higher economic activity as more countries abolish lockdowns, and higher commodity prices have become a boon for Standard Bank.

The blue bank said its earnings rose 28% in the first three months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

The 50 basis points interest rate increase in SA – one in January and one in March – means that the bank has been collecting higher net interest income than in the first quarter of 2021, when SA’s repo rate was still at a historic low.

And it’s not just in SA where the bank’s net interest income is improving. Angola, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia, where Standard Bank has operations, have also faced rate hikes.

“Higher average interest rates and a larger average balance sheet supported the group’s net interest margin and net interest income growth period on period. Higher transactional activity underpinned by a larger client base and less restrictions supported fee growth,” wrote Standard Bank in a trading update on Monday.

The banking group said global market volatility and higher commodity prices also boosted its trading revenues as more clients moved money around. The result was trading revenue that was slightly ahead of the first quarter of 2021.

And the drawbacks that banks suffered at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic are also fading away. Standard Bank said its credit impairment charges – which shot up to historic highs in 2020 – continued to decline. The group’s credit loss ratio improved to the lower end of its target range of between 70 to 100 basis points.

The performance in the bank’s insurance operations was just as upbeat. Standard Bank said Liberty Holdings – which became its fully-owned subsidiary in February and delisted from the JSE – recorded a small profit in the first quarter of 2022.

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