Standard Bank retail unit turns profit in 2010 on strong consumer loan growth

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The retail arm of the Argentine unit of South Africa's Standard Bank turned a profit for the first time last year since it acquired the local unit of BankBoston in April 2007 while increasing its market share thanks to good consumer credit growth, group deputy chief executive Peter Wharton-Hood told a webcast.

Standard Bank's personal and business banking (PBB) or retail division outside Africa grew profits 58% to 120mn rand (US$17.5mn) in 2010, according to the bank's latest earnings release.

Standard Bank Argentina increased overall profits 67.1% to 172mn pesos (US$42.7mn) last year.

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The bank transactional card volumes increase 25% and personal loans grow 65% in 2010. The bank also saw higher deposit margins on savings and sight deposit accounts.

Standard Bank's 2010 earnings of 283mn rand were down 4% compared with the previous year, due to a flat loan book, compressed margins and higher operating expenses.

The group incurred total non-recurring restructuring costs of 781mn rand in 2010, including a process undertaken in Argentina earlier in the year, group CEO Jacko Maree said.

"After two extremely difficult years, we are focusing on improving our ROE through revenue generation and cost containment," he said.

Standard Bank is South Africa's largest bank with operations in 17 African countries and 15 markets outside the continent. It is one of Argentina's top 10 banks. In Latin America, it also operates in Brazil.