HARARE – Profit after tax at Nedbank Zimbabwe charged by a staggering 82 percent to $14,3 million during the year ended December 31, 2018, from $7,9 million during the prior comparable period in 2017, as the bank responded to sharp rises in non-interest income, according to managing director, Charity Jinya.

She said growth was also underpinned by aggressive forays into the digital space that pushed Point of Sale machine numbers by 1 176 and helped Nedbank report a 511 percent rise in electronic banking revenue to $8,3 million.

This figure was $1,4 million during the year ended December 31, 2017.

Nedbank, which was reporting its first full year after rebranding from MBCA Bank in 2018, notched one of the most remarkable growths by a bank during the review period-a demonstration of its strong intentions to build a huge presence on Zimbabwe’s financial landscape.

But it appears Nedbank is still disturbed by the outlook unless authorities take ongoing moves towards political dialogue seriously, while moving with speed to bring Zimbabwe back into the global community.

“Structural reforms, in-country political dialogue and re-engagement with the international community will be the cornerstones for our macroeconomic recovery,” the bank said in a commentary on the financial statement released last week.

“Although austerity measures announced in the last fiscal statement are expected to start contributing to economic stability, overall economic growth in 2019 will remain subject to fluctuations in weather conditions, investor sentiment, economic policies and political reforms,” said Nedbank .

These factors are expected to rebuild investor confidence on Zimbabwe, which has been shuttered by prolonged public spats over the outcome of last year’s presidential elections, as well as a stubborn fuel and foreign currency crisis that continue to repel potential investment and expansion of existing businesses.

Net interest incomes moved 34 percent to $22,5 million during the review period, from $16,5 million the previous year, driven by earnings from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe savings bonds, according to Jinya.

She said total assets increased by $432,6 million during the review period, from $369,5 million the previous year.

“Net loans and advances to clients constituted 26 percent of the total assets, compared to 27 percent the in 2017,” said Nedbank.

She said total deposits increased by 16 percent to $343,8 million during the review period, after strong support from an aggressive deposit mobilisation strategy.