Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR) recorded an after-tax profit of Rwf 3.8 B in 2020 amid the global pandemic that has slowed down local and international economic activity. This was nevertheless a 7.3 per cent drop in comparison to Rwf4.1bn that the lender registered in 2019. In 2020, the bank recorded a 26.2 per cent growth in customer deposits leading to an overall growth of 18.22 per cent in the bank’s total assets to reach Rwf 405Billion. The bank’s loan book grew by 13.67 per cent on a year-on-year basis and investments in Treasury Bills and Bonds also grew by 39.08 per cent. The bank’s total capital increased by 8.47 per cent due to profit retention. According to the published results, overall operating expenses declined by 0.74 per cent despite a jump in depreciation charge by Rwf 1.3 B which is consistent with an increase in the bank’s total stock of fixed asset investments towards the end of 2019. Commenting on the performance of the bank, the Managing Director, Maurice Toroitich noted that the slight drop in after-tax profit was associated with reduced economic activity due to the Covid19 pandemic which resulted in lower transaction volumes and waiver of fees related to digital payments. He further noted that the underlying business is resilient and in line with the bank’s expectation for the period. “This performance is underpinned by the momentum that we have gained in operational efficiency and improved credit underwriting standards,” he said. Toroitich also noted that the significant increase in depreciation and amortization charge was due to the bank’s investment in the new Head Office building and new IT infrastructure to support the bank digital transformation agenda. In response to the question why the level of loan loss impairment had not increased significantly despite the increased credit risk market arising from the impact of Covid-19, he noted that quality and diversity of the loan portfolio and actions that the bank has been taking over the past years to strengthen the loan underwriting standards has contributed greatly in minimizing the impact of Covid-19 on loan loss provisions. “However, to cushion the bank from future Loan losses, the bank increased the loan loss provisions by 26.13%” he said. Going forward, he noted that the bank remains well-capitalized and liquid to continue supporting its customers throughout the pandemic and towards economic recovery in due course. BPR has the largest banking network with over 137 branches and 350 agents and 51 ATM machines supported by mobile and internet banking platforms.