Standard Bank optimistic with Malawi economy

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Standard Bank Malawi is anticipating improved foreign exchange inflows and a better business environment in the country following the new government’s decision to re-engage international partners.

The bank expects the donors to inject aid that was being withheld over governance and economic management concerns.

Standard Bank Board Chairperson Alex Chitsime told reporters at the bank’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday in Lilongwe that the bank was optimistic that the situation in Malawi would change for the better.

“Development partners will come in to improve on forex and that will improve business. That is the hope everyone has, not just Standard Bank,” said Chitsime.

The donors are withholding grants and loans in excess of US$500 million.

Chitsime said Standard Bank, which has just announced a K3.5 billion after tax profit, struggled in forex business due to shortage of the foreign currency, one of the critical areas of the banking business.

Standard Bank Malawi Managing Director, Charles Mudiwa said the bank’s profit margin in the year was affected by the economic environment in the country but the bank still managed to achieve good results.

“I would say we scored on two things; number one on cost reduction and efficiencies which saw our cost graph going down by 12 per cent and we also scored on ability to leverage on the market and hence grow income lines and grow season commission lines,” Mudiwa said.

The AGM endorsed the proposed dividends of K9.38 per share representing K2 billion as recommended by the directors.

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