ECOBANK Zimbabwe Limited reported an 82% increase in after-tax profit to US$40,04 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 due to increased net interest and non-interest income.

The improvement in profit after tax was from a previous of US$22,02 million recorded over the comparative 2017 period.

“The bank reported an 81,8% increase in profit after tax from $22 million in December 2017 to $40 million in December 2018. This was mainly attributed to a year-on-year increase of 42,4% in net interest income and a 44,8% year-on-year growth in net fees and commissions,” the bank’s managing director Moses Kurenjekwa, said in a statement accompanying the bank’s results.

Net interest income grew to US$49,37 million for the period under review from US$34,66 million in 2017.

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The growth was largely driven by an 80,44% growth in interest and similar income earned off Treasury Bills which grew to US$28,63 million in 2018 from US$15,86 million.

The bank more than doubled its stock of Treasury Bills to US$380,08 million during the period under review.

Interest and similar income earned off loans and advances grew to US$24,5 million in 2018 from US$21,97 million in the previous year.

This was buoyed by a 31% increase in the loan book which grew to US$206,2 million.

Net non-interest income, fees and commissions grew to US$23,32 million in 2018 from a comparative US$16,54 million, earned in 2017.

The bank also recorded a 171% increase in gains from dealing in foreign currencies to US$10,23 million for the period under review from a 2017 comparative of US$3,78 million.

“The rise in net interest income was due to the increased investment in government securities from US$185 million at the beginning of the year to US$380 million at the end of 2018. Growth in fees and commissions was driven by the establishment of import letters of credit,” Kurenjekwa said.

Deposits, during the period grew 102% to US$913,69 million from US$452,43 million in 2017.

Administrative expenses grew from US$22,82 million to US$27,43 million.