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Bank executives 'happy' with drop in earnings

By Marcia Klein | Mar 05, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

UNDER normal circumstances, Standard Bank's executives would not be happy with a 20percent drop in earnings.

But financial director Simon Ridley said yesterday that now he is nothing except relieved.

Still plagued by economic conditions, impairments on bad loans and the poor performance of Liberty (which is starting to turn around), the group reported a 2percent rise in total income and 7percent higher impairment charges, while Liberty's earnings slumped 89percent in the year to December. However, the full year results mask an improvement in the second half on most fronts.

The group also took some pain in Africa, where headline earnings dropped 35percent as operations in most countries, particularly in West Africa, came under pressure. Nevertheless, the group remains optimistic about opportunities in Africa.

Chief executive Jacko Maree said in Nigeria the bank was looking to acquire one of the nine banks currently in government's recapitalisation programme.

Personal and business banking fared a lot worse than corporate and investment banking.

Deputy chief executive Sim Tshabalala said there are definite signs of improvement in the global economy. Locally, there were signs that personal banking clients were under a lot less pressure than a year ago.


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