CRDB most profitable bank in Burundi

ARUSHA: CRDB Bank’s Burundi subsidiary has finally become the most profitable lender in that country eleven years after entering the Bujumbura market.

The subsidiary, with four branches and plans to open an additional three this year, attributed its one-decade success to the novelty of its management and the support it gets from the government, its parent company and various partners.

CRDB Bank Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Mr Frederick Nshekanabo said the Burundi subsidiary has grown to become the most profitable lender in that country with signs seen last year after it claiming the second position.

“Our subsidiaries played a vital role in bolstering the group’s performance, Burundi achieving an impressive 30.7 per cent yearon-year growth in profit after tax to 30.2bn/-,” Mr Nshekanabo told shareholders recently in Arusha at 29th AGM.

CRDB Burundi saw its assets grow by 16.4 per cent to 985bn/- last year while total deposits increased by 3.8 per cent to 547.3bn/- customers’ deposits.

Burundi’s banking sector has about 13 commercial banks, including KCB Burundi, Burundi Commercial Bank, Burundi Bank of Commerce and Investment, Diamond Trust Bank Burundi, the Women’s Investment and Development Bank and EcoBank Burundi.

CRDB Bank Burundi SA Managing Director Mr Fredrick Siwale (pictured) told a section of the media on the sidelines of the AGM that during the first quarter of this year, the subsidiary recorded a net profit of 9.3 billion Burundian francs (8.4bn/-).

“With such stellar performance, the CRDB emerged as the most profitable lender in Burundi,” said Mr Siwale, attributing the achievement to an innovative operational approach.

The lender, which has operated in Burundi for the past 11 years, through innovation, managed to raise the number of its banking agents (wakala) to 1,500 across the country from only 630 last year.

“This has helped us to raise the number of customers across all segments [ from large, medium to small-scale] …,” said Mr Siwale.

Over the decade, the subsidiary has mastered the art of working closely with various players across agriculture, transport, mining and tourism among others.

“Businesses across these sectors get all the relevant support from us and this is why we have been doing quite well,” he said.

With the full support from its parent company and with the government and regulatory agencies in Burundi, coupled with cordial social, political and economic ties between Tanzania, CRDB Burundi has made some strides in supporting cross-border investments between the two countries.

That is how the bank, in partnership with CRBD Bank Plc, was compelled to finance a fertilizer factory in Dodoma, Tanzania which has been built by a Burundian investor.

“We also finance several public sector projects in Burundi,” Mr Siwale said, adding that plans were underway to ensure that the lender was playing a key role in supporting regional businesses.

During the past 11 years, the CRDB Burundi disbursed loans worth 740 billion Burundi francs (673.4bn/-). The asset size, in the last 11 years, has grown to 1.3 trillion Burundi francs (1.18tri/-).

Looking forward, Mr Siwale sees the lender as becoming an increasingly important player in financing various activities that drive economic growth in Burundi and the region at large.

CRDB Burundi remains focused on achieving higher profitability, particularly through risk assets expansion, primary loans.

“We are also keen on exploring opportunities within the agriculture sector and corporate business segments, which we see as integral to the economic transformation of Burundi,” he said.

CRDB Burundi concluded last year with a solid foundation in capital, liquidity, and risk management, poised to seize opportunities while navigating the future challenge effectively.

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