Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) saw a turnaround in its profits during the first quarter of its new fiscal year by more than $2 million, an improvement after losing more than $7 million at the close of its last fiscal year – which ended on September 30, 2020 – due to loan loss provisions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank recorded net income of $2.37 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020/2021.
During its recent annual general meeting, BOB Chief Financial Officer Jihanne Hosmillo-Williams said capital and liquid asset ratios remain above required levels and the bank’s balance sheet continues to be strong, with total assets increasing from $822 million as at June 30, 2020 to $874 million as at September 30, 2020.
“Total revenues for this period continue to be consistent with the prior year, although noted are some minimal decreases in fees and commission income, directly attributable to a certain level of decreased business volumes and transactions due to the current environment under COVID-19,” she said.
“Loans and advances to customers, which account for more than 40 percent of our total assets, continued to increase, as well as our cash and cash equivalents. Our total liabilities, primarily customer deposits, also showed a significant increase since June 30, 2020, so this continued to show a strong balance sheet position for the Bank.”
BOB closed its fourth quarter with a net loss of $7.4 million for the year, which ended June 30, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank increased its net provision in loan losses last year to $15.3 million.
BOB Managing Director Kenrick Brathwaite said despite the challenges of fiscal year 2020 – including Hurricane Dorian and the ongoing pandemic – he is encouraged by progress made to ensure that the bank becomes the “most efficient customer-centric bank in The Bahamas”.
“Presently, we are still in our initial phase of strengthening the foundation, which we expect will be completed by May 2021, allowing your bank to move to phase two of accelerated growth. Phase one is an aggressive and ambitious plan to address the upgrading of our core banking system, the restructuring of our corporate organization, the updating of our policies and procedures, the implementation of succession plans and the automation of most of our procedures,” he said.
“Additionally, we expect to address our desire to enhance our online platform, improve our website and embark on a digital expansion to facilitate our ability to reach persons on the Family Islands, especially those unbanked potential customers.”