2019 was a stellar year for Standard Chartered Bangladesh | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 09, 2020

2019 was a stellar year for Standard Chartered Bangladesh

Standard Chartered Bangladesh logged in 14.33 per cent higher profits for 2019, marking the second consecutive year of double-digit growth of gains for the British lender.

Last year, the bank recorded net profits of Tk 1,282.59 crore, according to its financial statements released on Tuesday.

Although the majority of the banks in Bangladesh are yet to report on their 2019 financial performance, the net income posted by Standard Chartered is most likely to be the highest in the sector for this year given the operating profit figures announced earlier at the close of the 2019.

The result is in line with the emerging market-focused bank's performance elsewhere:  Standard Chartered's annual pre-tax profit was up 46 per cent at $3.7 billion for the year.

"2019 has been a very successful year for Standard Chartered, both for the group and for the bank in Bangladesh," said Naser Ezaz Bijoy, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bangladesh.

The bank's retail loans and advances, one of the major tools for earning profits, stood at Tk 5,370.77 crore in 2019, up 8.75 per cent from a year earlier.

Loans to corporate clients stood at Tk 17,449.21 crore last year, up marginally from the previous year.

Corporate clients got around 70 per cent of the bank's total outstanding credit amounting to Tk 25,075.88 crore as of December last year.

The bank saw good success in bringing down its default loans last year, at a time when the sector was struggling to keep down soured assets.

In 2019, its default loans decreased 44.34 per cent year-on-year to Tk 185.49 crore -- an exploit that helped it manage the robust profit.

Total deposits in the bank, however, decreased 6.90 per cent year-on-year to Tk 27,973.53 crore in 2019.

Its capital adequacy ratio to risk weighted assets also stood at 23.15 per cent, which is much higher than the actual requirement of 12.50 per cent as per the Basel III guidelines.

This means the foreign bank, which has been in Bangladesh for 115 years now, has also strengthened its capital base and asset quality in tandem.

"The core focus of our strategy has been to drive growth in a strong, safe and sustainable manner, while maintaining both cost and capital discipline," said Bijoy, who has been steering the wheels of the lender since 2017.

The bank saw an increase in flows across key trade and investment corridors -- particularly on the back of large-scale infrastructure development programmes.

The lender has made a healthy contribution to the national exchequer, depositing total Tk 1,137 crore in taxes in various forms, which includes both the bank's tax obligation, and tax payments that its clients did through the lender.

"Our priority now is to see how we can support our clients who have had a satisfactory track record with us before the impact of coronavirus."

The bank has been working with various trade bodies with a view to improving the liquidity situation, easing access to finance businesses of all scale and helping businesses manage their cashflow.

"At the same time, we remain eager to work with the policymakers to implement appropriate fiscal and monetary measures to enhance the resilience of our economy."

Once the country overcomes this challenge together, the bank has confidence that the economy will retain its growth momentum, Bijoy added.

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