Rwanda Commercial Bank’s (BCR) profit after tax increased more than two folds to Rwf2.6b in 2010 from Rwf0.9b in 2009, boosted by high interest income and improved management of operating expenses.
Sanjeev Anand, BCR’s Managing Director said on Tuesday during the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) that their operating efficiency improved in previous years to become one of the best in the banking sector.
The bank’s cost income ratio, which is the indicator of operating efficiency, is one of the best in the industry at 72 percent from above 89 percent in 2009.
“We upgraded our core banking platform to incorporate straight processes like internet and SMS banking.
These permitted our customers to access banking services easily,” Anand said, adding that the upgrades also improved the bank’s payment of utility services, such as electricity and water bills.
The bank’s loan book grew significantly, bringing about the re-launch of mortgage and construction products on the market. However its non-performing loan ratio, which represents loans in default on close to being in default, is higher than the central bank’s threshold of 7 percent.
“Our loan and credit exposure grew by Rwf4 billion. We now focus our risk management on supporting business units to grow their loan books efficiently,” Anand said.
Faustin Byishimo, the bank’s Head of Retail Banking, said that his institution thinks it is better to equip Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) with skills to develop good proposals which will be accepted by banks.
Rwanda’s SME sector accounts for more than 70 percent of the businesses in the country. However, the sector is perceived to be highly risky by banks, hence limiting its access to financing.
Byishimo said that BCR signed a partnership with a German development agency, GIZ, to build the capacity of SMEs through provision of financial and training assistance.