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FNB posts impressive results

Mpeshe Selebalo

 MASERU — First National Bank (FNB) has reported a profit before tax of M8.6 million for the financial year which ended in June.

Last year the bank made M1.8 million in income before tax.

The “impressive” financial results have come out at a time the bank is planning to expand its presence in Lesotho, especially in the southern and northern districts.

FNB, with total assets of over M749 million, is the smallest of the three commercial banks operating in the country.

“We are excited about the results for the past financial year which are impressive for the business,” FNB chief executive officer Trevor Holtman told the Sunday Express.

“This was due to commitment of staff and management.”

The bank, which says it holds a seven to eight percent share in the local market, said customer deposits had increased by 40 percent in the past financial year.

In the year ended June, FNB said it had deposits of M682 million, representing a 17 percent increase from the M584 million recorded the previous year.

Holtman said the increase in deposits was an indication that the market was having greater confidence in the bank.

“The business is steady and we are in a good financial position to increase our lending and to increase our local footprint,” he said.

The current low interest rates have put a lot of pressure on local banks.

“We feel that interest rates will start to pick up from around February next year,” Holtman said.

FNB recorded a four percent increase in net advances but Holtman said they were “not very happy with that performance”.

“Our advances are at M79 million currently and we would like to increase that to about M160 in the current financial year,” he said.

Holtman also said the inflation rate would hover between 3.5 and four percent in the coming months.

He said the stable economic conditions were good for business as it allowed for long-term planning.

Holtman said the bank was in the current financial year looking at registering double digit growth by increasing loans to clients.

He said the bank is this year targeting small, micro and medium enterprises financing as well as to increase its asset finance and home loans.

The bank had put in place adequate measures to handle risk after it set up a risk department, he said.

“Our capital adequacy ratio is currently at 17 percent,” Holtman said.

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