BK Group Plc has reported an after tax profit of Rwf22.8 billion in the first half of 2021, an increase of 41.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. In the first half of last year, the bank had a profit of Rwf16 billion. According to the group’s financial statement, the largest driver of the performance, as has been the case previously, was the banking subsidiary Bank of Kigali followed by BK General Insurance. Bank of Kigali raked in Rwf20.9 billion with total interest income rising by 28.2 per cent to Rwf85.9 billion supported by higher income from loans and advances. Non-interest income stood at Rwf 16.2 billion buoyed by increased trade volume and economic activities. In the first half of the year, the bank served over 356,900 Retail customers and over 26,000 corporate clients through its branch network of 68 and over 2690 banking agents across the country. In an aim to increase financial services access, the lender expanded its agency banking network to 2,692 agents who processed over 2.8 million transactions. The group’s cost to income ratio was at 32.8 per cent, among the lowest in the industry. Cost-to-income ratio is important for determining the profitability of a bank. A low cost to income ratio is a positive development as it indicates that it takes less cost to generate income. However, the lender’s Non-performing Loans was at 6.6 per cent, above industry average of 5.9 per cent. The higher NPL was explained as resulting from pressure from one commercial real estate loan which is not current with payments. “We have seen pressure on our NPL that is higher than market average, this is because of some pressure we are seeing in the commercial real estate sector where we have one top client that is not current with payments. We are negotiating with the client to see if there is a way to inject equity for them to reduce the debt service. This is something we are undertaking and hope to have ended by year end,” Dr. Diane Karusisi, Chief Executive Officer of BK Group said. The insurance arm raked in a profit of the Group raked in a profit of Rwf 1.19 billion in the first half of 2021 compared to Rwf1.39 billion registered in the same period last year. Gross premiums increased from Rwf 2.72 billion in the first half of 2020 to Rwf4.05 billion in 2021 reflecting a growth of 49 per cent. At BK Capital, the group’s youngest subsidiary, total revenues for the first half of 2021 reduced by 8 per cent compared to the same period last year mainly due to the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting growth in business lines such as commissions from advisory services and brokerage business. Commenting on the performance, Dr. Diane Karusisi, the Bank of Kigali Chief Executive, said that the recent mass vaccination campaign in Kigali gives hope that full recovery can be expected towards the end of the year. “In line with improved business activity, BK Group Plc has recorded a strong first half of the year. Total assets have grown by 20 per cent, driven primarily by loans growth and net income increased by 41.5 per cent year on year. Bank of Kigali has retained a prudent stance with regards to impairments, and expects to progressively release provisions as recovery is confirmed,” “The recent mass vaccination campaign in Kigali gives hope that full recovery can be expected towards the end of the year. I am confident that our performance will continue to improve making BK Group Plc more attractive to investors who are looking for strong and stable returns,” she said. In 2020, BK Group recorded an after-tax profit of Rwf38.4 billion which was a 3 per cent growth compared to the previous year when they registered Rwf37.3 billion.