By Patrick Kagenda
Last year was a year of excellent results at Crane Bank. The bank achieved its highest profit levels since its inception in 1995.
“Not only did the bank receive the Banker award of the year for the Sixth time in 7 years and 5 times in a row, the bank registered its highest ever profit since its inception,” said A.R. Kalan the banks general manager.
Profit before tax increased 20.50% to Shs 41.91 billion in 2009 from Shs 34.78 billion in 2008. After taxation of Shs 9.87 billion, profit after tax increased 23.85% to Shs 32.05 bn in 2009 from Shs 25.88 bn in 2008.Total Assets of the bank increased by 23.34% to Shs 531.53 billion in 2009 from Shs 430.96 billion in 2008.
The biggest contributor for the growth was an increase in customer deposits which registered an increase of 22.61% to Shs 418.77 bn in 2009 from Shs 341.56 bn in 2008. The increase was a result of the expansion of the bank”™s branch network and continued support from both existing customers and new ones.The bank increased its lending portfolio by 15.77 % to Shs 240.38 bn in 2009 from Shs 207.64 bn in 2008.The bank reserves alsoincreased by 30.36 % to Shs 97.78 bn in 2009 making it one of the few banks in Uganda having a capital base in excess of Shs 97 billion.
The bank continued to outperform the industry in managing credits risk as is evident from the extremely low loan loss provision percentage of 1.08% to total advances in 2009.The bank is eyeing the integration of the East African Community and expects to strengthen intra-regional trade and also target markets outside the community such as Europe, USA, and China.
Crane Bank still stands by its plan to list on the Uganda Securities Exchange. They were delayed due to international conditions and the slackness on the Capital Market activity arising out of the global economic crisis.
The bank has also scored on its branch expansion program with the number of branches projected to grow from 11 to 15 that will make it have a nationwide presence.
In 2009, Crane bank launched its credit card products, internet banking platform and expanded its own network of Western Union outlets and also added on to its Western Union network sub-agents thereby increasing the geographical coverage of the Western Union product offering.
The bank provides utility bills payment services and is also connected online to the ASYCUDA ++ system and the e-tax platform of Uganda Revenue Authority for the benefit of its customers as well as non-account holders to pay taxes and duties for all their imports and other taxes.
The bank in 2010 expects to grow its profit before taxation by more than 35% owing to increasing corporate activity and active inter-regional trade and commerce. Crane Bank is set to launch its Home Loan product in this year. Having established Crane Bank as a major player in the Ugandan banking industry, the bank has embarked on a path of long term growth.