National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has registered Ksh. 184 million in profit after tax for the first quarter ending March 31 2021. This is a 19% growth compared to a similar period last year, driven by increased income from loan interest, foreign exchange trading and lower loan loss provisions.

The bank’s net interest income grew by 5% compared to the previous year, to stand at Ksh. 1.9 billion. This was attributed to interest income which grew by 11% to Ksh. 2.7 billion due to increased volumes of loans and advances as well as sustained recoveries. Increased customer deposits also led to a 28% growth in interest paid.

Total operating costs during the quarter remained relatively flat at Ksh. 2.09 billion, compared to Ksh. 2.11 billion over a similar period in 2020. This was despite increased investments in enhanced cybersecurity measures and revamp of the core banking system.

Total assets grew by 14% to Ksh. 114 billion, majorly from net loans and advances, which were up 20% to Ksh. 58 billion. This was supported by increased customer deposits which grew by 8% to Ksh. 99 billion due to increased flows among existing clients and new accounts in corporate and retail franchises. This includes National Amanah, the bank’s Islamic Banking business.

NBK’s Managing Director Paul Russo said that the first quarter of 2021 was marked by pockets of slow recovery from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This slow growth was due to the gradual reopening of the economy after a period of subdued activity. “Having received a boost in Tier 2 Capital from the KCB Group, we are now well positioned to continue growing the business and supporting our customers to weather effects of the pandemic. Further, the capital injection enhances our compliance with regulatory ratios,” added Mr. Russo.

The KCB Group injected Ksh. 3,239,700,000 ($30 million) in additional debt capital to NBK in April 2021 to enhance the Bank’s capital buffers.

“We remain optimistic about prospects for this year in our efforts to turnaround the bank and deliver value for our customers. As economic activity picks up, the bank’s enhanced capital position puts us in good stead to help our customers walk the path to recovery after the slowdown due to the pandemic,” Mr. Russo added.