M Bank Rwanda Plc has registered a Rwf 2.2bn after-tax profit in the first half of 2020. The performance was positive despite the pandemic and the resultant economic slowdown. The Bank’s profit was largely driven by Net Interest Income, which noted an increase of 8 per cent from Rwf10.5 Billion in June last year to Rwf11.3 billion in 2020 resulting mainly from the growth in the loan book portfolio. The loan book grew by 20 per cent to Rwf206 billion while customers and other financial institutions deposits reached Rwf276 billion, recording an increase of 13.4% Year on Year. The Bank’s non-interest income stood at Rwf2.6 Billion as of end June 2020, mainly driven by 14 per cent increase in Foreign Exchange Income. In the same period, operating expenses dropped by 2 per cent compared to the same period last year amounting Rwf9.2 Billion. The lender noted that the pandemic had impacted the performance of the Bank reducing profits by about 14 per cent as a result of percentage increase in provisions by 408 per cent. The Bank earned the tax authorities about Rwf1.1billion in tax as the profit before tax was Rwf3.3 billion at the end of June 2020. To reflect the uncertainties brought about by Covid-19 the Bank’s management and board took a decision to make substantial additional provisions against potential future loan losses that may result from this event, the lender said. Chief Executive of I&M Bank Rwanda Robin Bairstow said that despite the pandemic, they had a fairly good first half of the year. “At the Bank, we saw good growth in lending activity, which had a positive impact on net interest income. Furthermore, we noted a rebound of the financial markets which led to a recovery in net trading income,” he said. To improve the eco-system for their clientele, Bairstow said that they had made effort to reduce the interest rates as well as extended loan repayment relief for three months and more. “The Bank provided loan repayment relief, even past the initial three months’ period for some sectors given their exposure and expected recovery period,” he said. The lender’s strategy, he said, is currently keen on enhancing products capabilities, growth of retail business as well as digital solutions to enhance banking service. “With the enhancement of product capabilities, we managed to grow our Retail business by 20%. Our Core business which is corporate banking launched digital solutions in the first half of the year to its clients to enhance their banking experience,” he said. In July 2020, following the Bank’s Annual General Meeting with a bonus share issue shareholders approved the plan for a Rights issue which will be going to market in September 2020.