I&M Bank Rwanda Plc has registered a Rwf3.4bn after-tax profit in the first half of 2021 compared to Rwf2.2bn earned in 2020. This was despite lower than expected business activity occasioned by the Covid-19 restrictions. Despite lower than expected business activities, profit before tax stood at Rwf5.2 billion, a 55 per cent increase of the same period last year. The growth was among other things buoyed by a growth in operating income at Rwf14.9 billion, which was a 20 per cent increase. According to officials at the lender, the growth was driven by increased net interest revenue which is 19 per cent higher than the same period last year and closed at Rwf13.3bn with the bank experiencing growth in revenues from the loan portfolio and own account trading in government securities. The bank’s credit impairment charges decreased 15 per cent which was attributed to the improved macroeconomic conditions, and prudent provisioning which was made in 2020. According to the bank’s financials, the net loan portfolio closed at Rwf210 billion with the quality remaining resilient with a Non-Performing Loan ratio of 3.95 per cent as of end June 2021 compared to an industry ratio of 5.7 percent as of June this year. Total operating expenses stood at Rwf9.8 billion. Commenting on the results, I&M Bank Rwanda Managing Director Robin Bairstow said that they made significant investment in the first half of 2021 with a focus on supporting customers, revenue growth and efficient cost control. “Together with our continuous investment in digital innovation for an improved revenue generation mix with more than seventy percent of all customer transactions initiated via digital or non-traditional channels. The Bank’s strong performance is underpinned by the commitment and drive of our people,” he said. He noted that going forward, they are increasing their digital offering in the market with solutions with over 70 per cent of all transactions generated via digital avenues. The lender runs multiple digital platforms including WhatsApp banking, mobile banking application, USSD for feature phone users as well as SPENN. The bank is looking to introduce mobile loans both on the SPENN and mobile banking app before the end of the year, further increasing customer experience. Spenn currently has over 4,500 agents countrywide and over 300,000 clients. The bank has also launched a new Bancassurance product and will be availing both general insurance and life insurance. Bancassurance is a relationship between a bank and insurance companies aimed at offering insurance products or insurance benefits to the bank’s customers. With the bank’s expansive branches, the lender is well placed for the insurance market. “The Bank has progressed on its strategic effort to create long-term value for stakeholders, through continued investments in Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives as a means to building resilience as well as to mitigate against emergent operational, cyber and credit risk,” “Through the KfW-supported IFE grant facility, we have managed to secure over 1800 jobs and we plan to work with new businesses to continue to protect this sector. We are truly excited to announce that we are about to bring on board 26 new graduates from our I&M Academy, these are high achieving university graduates who have undergone intensive training and now join us as management trainees and as part of the future of I&M Bank,” he said. In 2020, I&M Bank registered an after-tax profit of Rwf5.1 billion.