First Banking Corporation’s net profit for the six months to June was nearly treble that for last year and 13 times that of the first half last year. And the bank says it expects to better these results in the second half.
It says opportunities in investment and corporate banking continue to arise as the economic framework of the country and the region adjusts to realities on the ground.
The bulk of its income was fees and commissions which shot up from $398 million to $6.6 billion. They contributed $1.9 billion for the entire year last year.
The bank says the increase was attributed to the increase in transaction fees as more people resorted to using cheques because of the shortage of cash.
Its investment banking division also contributed to the increase. Though interest income increased from $1.8 billion to $9.1 billion, net interest income only increased marginally from $673 million to $977 million, less than the $2.2 billion realised last year.
The slower growth was due to increases in deposit rates when the bank was holding some assets which had a longer pricing period. It says the bulk of these assets have been repriced and the margin should improve in the second half.
Despite the acute shortage of foreign currency, foreign exchange income increased from $52 million to $1.4 billion resulting in total income improving from $1.2 billion to nearly $9 billion.
Net profit rose from $345 million to $4.2 billion. Last year’s net profit was $1.5 billion.
Its balance sheet increased from $20.7 billion in the first half of last year to $80 billion. It stood at $44.9 billion at the end of last year.