Citizens Bank records $1.1B profit after tax
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Chairman of Citizens Bank, Clifford Reis
Chairman of Citizens Bank, Clifford Reis

SHOWING its resilience in the face of adversity owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Guyana Inc., has reported that it has ended the 2021 financial year with an after-tax profit of $1.1 billion.

According to the bank’s annual financial report, this after-tax profit represents an increase of $73.4 million or 7.5 per cent when compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

Reporting on the bank’s performance, Chairman of the Bank, Clifford Reis, in his report said: “I am pleased to report that Citizens Bank Guyana Inc. has recorded profits after taxation of $1.1 billion, representing an improvement of $73.4 million or 7.5 per cent when compared to the prior year.”

In speaking about the bank’s success, Reis said that the noteworthy performance should be seen in the context of the continuing negative impact of the global pandemic on the economy and the bank’s customers from every industry sector, coupled with other market factors, including the high level of liquidity and declining interest rates.

The bank’s total assets grew by 29.6 per cent, customers’ deposits by 34.6 per cent, receivables/loans by 6.5 per cent, and gross revenue increased by 5.3 per cent.

Net income for the year ending September 30, 2021, was $3.6 billion compared to $3.4 billion the prior year, an increase of $0.2 million or $5.9 per cent and profit before taxation of $1.8 billion compared to $1.7 billion in the prior year, an increase of $0.2 billion or 5.9 per cent.

Its annualised return on average assets was 1.4 per cent while the return on shareholder’s equity was 10 per cent compared to 1.7 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively in the prior year.

Non-performing loans on September 30, 2021, represented 7.7 per cent of the bank’s total loan portfolio compared to 8.7 per cent on September 30, 2020. The consolidated banking sector ratio for non-performing loans was 8.9 per cent at September 30, 2021.

Reis noted that total banking sector loans and advances grew by 8.0% to $280.9 billion at September 30, 2021, with private sector credit increasing by 8.8 per cent to $275.7 billion.

Deposits at the commercial bank increased by 16.0 per cent to $565.0 billion at September 30, 2021, with private sector deposits growing by 15.2 per cent to $459.2 billion; representing 81.3 per cent of the total banking sector deposits.

“The sector will continue to be characterized by intense competition amongst commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in a high liquidity and low-interest rate market, our success will, therefore, require that we remain creative and take appropriate initiatives to address those components of our operations that will ensure sustainable performances and that will allow us to offer existing and potential clients unmatched customer service, and product and services,” the Chairman stated.

Citizens Bank headquarters at Camp Street and South Road

2022 PLANS
Reis disclosed that to ensure sustained growth and stability of the bank while remaining competitive and successful, several new systems will remain focused on the prudent management of expenses and risk management practices.

“In 2022, the bank will remain focused on the prudent management of expenses and risk management practices with emphasis on measures that will improve and strengthen our assessment and management of risk. Improved operational efficiencies are also key to the sustainable growth and stability of the bank while remaining competitive and success in a very dynamic sector,” the statement by Reis said.

He further disclosed that during 2022 to promote accessibility to clients and potential clients, the bank will commence operations at its new Mandela Branch. Additionally, work will commence on the construction of the bank’s new $800 million Bartica branch.

Reis also stated that another major endeavour that the bank will undertake in 2022 is the move to mobile banking. He noted that worldwide the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way routine operations are done, including simple banking transitions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and its many protocols, including physical distancing, has highlighted the need for an expanded digital strategy and in 2022 we intend to increase the utilisation of technology to drive their digital platform to include digital onboarding and the process leading to the introduction of a mobile banking application,” said Reis.

ANTICIPATED GROWTH
Even as the company looks to implement new systems to grow, Reis noted that it anticipates significant growth as the Guyana economy continues to grow from oil and gas sector earnings.

He noted that the company remains confident that the implementation of its strategies will allow it to deliver positive results for its stakeholders.

In 2020, shareholders benefited from a dividend of $3.15 per share. The bank paid an interim dividend of $0.90 per share in May 2021. The directors now recommend a final dividend of $2.60 per share bringing the total dividend payment to $3.50 per share for a total payout of $208.2 million.

“The Guyana economy is projected to grow by 46.5 per cent during fiscal 2022 buoyed by the continued expansion of the oil and gas sector and increase in output from the traditional sectors, which sectors are expected to benefit from the government’s expansive infrastructure development programme and increases foreign direct Investments,” Reis’s statement added.

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