GBTI half year profit at $603m, down from $961m last year

-loan loss provision sharply up


In the wake of rising bad loans and a massive alleged fraud against it this year, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has posted an unaudited net after tax profit of $603m for the first six months of this year compared to $961m in the same period for 2016.

The half-year unaudited results were published in today’s Guyana Times and shareholders are likely to feel some impact. GBTI is paying an interim dividend of four dollars per share this year when in previous years it has been $6 per share. In recent years, the total dividend paid has been $17 per share broken down into an interim dividend of $6 and a final dividend of $11.

In his Chairman’s report, Robin Stoby SC said “Local banks are faced with rising levels of non-performing loans and slower credit with growth in private sector lending only growing sluggishly, on average, by 2.0 percent from the first half of 2016 to the first half of 2017”.

The bank’s bad loans provisioning for the first six months of this year was $710.5m compared to $294.7m for the same period in 2016. For the entire 2016, the total bad loan provisioning was $899m. The half year figure for 2017 means that the bank is likely to significantly exceed that figure at the end of the year.

GBTI’s unaudited statement showed that interest income was down significantly over the period. For the six months in 2017, interest income was $2.51b, sharply down from the $2.81b in 2016.  After interest expense,  net income for the first six months this year was $2.075b compared to $2.356b for the first six months of 2016.

Stoby said that the bank had “prudentially provided for the fraud perpetuated on the bank earlier this year. We remain optimistic that the legal process will be concluded before the end of the year”.

Stoby did not refer to the particulars of the case but it pertains to $941 million lost in a fraudulent transaction allegedly conducted by gold dealer Saddiqi Rasul. On or around March 24, 2017, Rasul was allowed access to a large sum representing the un-cleared deposit of $941 million emanating from several cheques he purported to deposit to the Bartica branch that were drawn from Citizens Bank accounts he held. The branch manager, without the approval of the Chief Executive Officer of the bank or any senior manager, allowed the transaction to take place and that the customer, knowing that his Citizens Bank account was frozen and that he had no funds, still presented the cheques. Rasul was charged and the matter is now before the court.

Stoby in his report in today’s Guyana Times said the local economy saw significant interruptions in the first quarter of the year due to cyclical variations in the foreign currency market. Stoby said that he was happy to report that  GBTI was able to resume significant correspondent banking relationships which has eased the pressure on the delivering of foreign exchange supplies.

“We note however that crime continues to dampen the struggling economic growth as well as the investment climate”, Stoby said.

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