I&M Bank Rwanda Plc has registered profits of Rwf 8.3B in the first 9 months of 2021 compared to Rwf 5.8B recorded in the same period last year. According to the bank’s latest financial report, the lender saw its operating income increase to Rwf 24B, a 15 per cent increase (year-on-year). This income growth was driven by increased Net Interest Revenue which rose by 21 per cent higher to the levels in 2020, closing the period at Rwf 19.6Billion. With improving economic conditions, the bank saw a 20 per cent reduction in credit impairment charges with RWF 1.46Billion at end September 2021 against RWF 1.84Billion recorded in the same period of 2020. The growth is reflected in the improved cost-to-income ratio of 59.6 per cent, down from 64.07 percent; while also maintaining a positive cost/income jaws (after impairment) of 11.3 per cent. 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. Commenting on the performance, Robin Bairstow, the Chief Executive of I&M Bank Rwanda said that the results point to the improving digital infrastructure in line with the bank’s strategy and aspiration. “We will continue building state-of-the-art digital platforms and growing the MSME sector which significantly supports the Rwandan economy. The underlying performance was driven by good volume growth, with loans increasing 5.8 percent year-to-date. The quality of the loan book improved with the NPL ratio of 3.58 percent,” he said. The executive noted that the bank maintains its commitment to create long term value to all the stakeholders. “Underpinning our performance is our commitment to being there for our customers and the community we serve. Throughout this pandemic period, we lent the full weight to safeguarding lives and livelihoods of our staff through implementation of remote work and staff wellbeing & mental-health programs. For our customers, by leading from the front in the fight against COVID-19 through moratoria, government supported lending and other support measures. Through the IFE grant, the bank has helped to retain over 1,900 jobs employed by 139 MSMEs” said Bairstow. The bank was recently recognized for its support to Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises by the Global Finance Awards 2021 organized by the SME Finance Forum. “We have significantly sustained our contribution in the financial sector over the years. We remain committed to diversifying our financial services and leverage on existing opportunities to better serve the Rwandan population through investment and partnership in new technologies. Our efforts in supporting the growth of the MSME sector was recognized with the “Product Innovation of the Year” award Winners at the Global Finance Awards 2021 organized by the SME Finance Forum in partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the Gold category for delivering outstanding products and services to our SME clients and segment,” he added. The lender’s MSME division has recorded a customer base growth of 65 per cent over the last year. The Bank closed the period with Rwf 297.8 billion of customers’ deposits, and a loan-to-deposit ratio of 72.9 per cent. In Q4 the bank has been investing in digital products and services, supporting customers so as to effectively manage net interest income and apply cost control to maintain healthy margins.