KENYA – Standard Chartered Bank Kenya registered a marginal 1.7 per cent increase in net profit in the year ended 2019 with a pre-tax profit of KSh12.2 billion (US$115.6m) at a time when the bank recorded increased use of digital services.

A financial statement released shows that the net profit increased slightly from KSh8.1 billion (US$76.8m) in 2018 to KSh8.2 billion (US$77.7m) in the year ended 2019.

While announcing the full-year results, Kariuki Ngari, the Chief Executive Officer said that the bank achieved tremendous milestones in 2019 especially on the transformation of the bank digitally.

“We have achieved important milestones on our strategic priorities in 2019. Key client digital adoption measures continue to improve – we have over 70 digital services and products on our mobile app, over 85 percent of transactions conducted through non-branch channels in Retail Banking, and close to 90 percent of our corporate clients are utilizing our Straight2Bank platform,” he said.

Since 31 December 2018, the Loans and advances to customers increased 8 percent to KSh129 billion (US$1.22m) while the gross non-performing loans reduced 7 percent year-on-year.

“Today, our cover ratio for non-performing loans stands at 70 percent, a 300 bps increase from 31 December 2018, Customer deposits increased 2 percent with an increase in retail current accounts off-set by a run-off in corporate current and savings accounts,” a statement issued by the bank noted.

The firm said that Credit impairment on loans reduced by KSh1.4 billion (US$13.3m) to KSh573 million (US$5.3m) and is at its lowest level in five years.

“Our actions over the past few years to support our clients to improve the risk profile of the balance sheet and continued focus on high-quality origination continue to pay off.”

The bank’s Operating expenses increased by 8 percent due to increased investments in technology.

The bank also observed a 6.2 per cent increase in total assets over the year, with the asset value climbing from KSh285 billion (US$2.7bn) to KSh302 billion (US$2.89bn).

In the same period, the net operating income increased slightly, from KSh28.6 billion (US$271m) to KSh28.7 billion (US$271m).

“Executing our refreshed strategic priorities remains our focus and we will continue to invest in areas of our competitive advantage in 2020. We remain cognizant of our responsibility in the fight against financial crime and as we continue to transform Standard Chartered this year, we will welcome challenges, adapt swiftly and be uncompromising in our pursuit of high performance,” Ngari noted.