Commercial Bank reported profit after tax of Rs 11.180 billion, which reflected a growth of 7.03%, despite marginally lower interest income due to a drop in the rate of returns on interest earning assets.
However, the strong performance of the Bank's loan book, which grew by Rs 84.3 billion or 22.24% to Rs 463.6 billion, enabled the Bank to improve its net interest income by 5.2% to Rs 27.222 billion, buttressing profit growth. Interest expenses reduced to Rs 34.610 billion due to an improvement in the Bank's CASA ratio, as a result of its success in mobilizing low cost funds in the period reviewed.
Deposits increased by a noteworthy Rs 78.3 billion or 17.34% to Rs 529.4 billion over the year, at an average of Rs 6.5 billion per month, the Bank said in a filing with the Colombo Stock Exchange.
Gross Income improved marginally, due to the lower margins witnessed by the industry in 2014, to Rs 74.442 billion. The Bank's assets increased by a vigorous 31.29% to Rs 795.6 billion.
Commenting on these results, Commercial Bank chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe said that in the face of challenges on both the domestic and international fronts, the efforts of the Bank's Corporate and Personal Banking teams had resulted in its lending portfolio growing appreciably in the latter part of the year, registering a growth rate considerably higher than in the previous quarters. "Against a background of sharply declining interest margins, this healthy expansion of volume acted as a boost that raised the Bank's overall profits- a welcome consequence no doubt appreciated by all shareholders," he said.
Dheerasinghe said the Bank had developed a strategy to diversify its activities in the year reviewed, with a particular focus on fee-based income. "In addition, the Bank launched several new products during the year aimed at improving product mix, as we cater to customer needs and preferences in areas such as credit cards, debit cards, loans, advances and savings products -including a new retirement-savings programme," he said.
Net fees and commissions for the year reviewed grew by 13.69% to Rs 4.831 billion, while other income including gains from trading, mark to market gains on financial instruments and recoveries of past due loans, improved by 15.11% to Rs 7.018 billion.