THE National Microfinance Bank (NMB) and CRDB Bank have posted almost matching first quarter net profit this year with the latter's profit surging to catch up with the former to underline intensifying competition between the two largest banks in Tanzania.
Financial statements issued recently shows that the NMB net profit went up slightly by 0.5 per cent to 38.36bn/- being reduced by fund set aside for, probably, bad debts.
On the other hand, CRDB net profit jumped up by 56 per cent to 37.84bn/- pushed up considerably by net interest income that went up by 34.5 per cent.
Though a single quarter does not a guarantee of a good performance for the rest of the year, but, according to analysts is a pointer to the performance of the year.
Last year, CRDB, the biggest bank in term of balance sheet, posted a net profit of 95.6bn/- while NMB, the largest in terms of network and profit, made a net profit of 156bn/-.
CRDB Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei, said the bank profitability level is increasing after intensifying and solidifying its position in the market and won the government business.
"We won the tender this year after building 20 new branches and qualified to take government business," Dr Kimei told the shareholders at annual general meeting held in Arusha early this month.
Analysts have it that, NMB with some 160 branches and CDRB with over 120 branches and over 1,600 agent banking units, the two are likely to dominate the sector for many years to come.
Dhow Financials Chief Executive Officers, Prof Mohamed Warsame, NMB and CRDB were now focusing on areas they did not concentrate much, with the former going for corporate business and the latter on retail banking.
"Today if you analyse closely their businesses NMB is venturing also into corporate and CRDB enters retail business as well," Prof Warsame, a financial analyst, said.
The Prof said CRDB is a biggest bank in terms of balance sheet - deposits, loans, assets - while NMB is the largest in terms of profitability - pushed by retail businesses.
"The two banks, (at the moment), control almost 50 per cent of total banking sector profit," Prof Warsame said, "These are two big competitors."
However, while CRDB and NMB battle for the top position, National Bank of Commerce, once a top bank, is struggling to walkout from the red after cutting down its net loss by almost half to 2.02bn/- from 5.6bn/-.
The new NBC Managing Director, Mr Edward Marks, said he would focus on system improvement and profitability to steer the bank to new heights in the competitive banking industry.
Mr Marks, said immediately after arriving in Dar that is also keen to introduce new innovations in the electronic market include maintaining the bank's profitability, a trend seen in 2014 figures where it posted a net profit of 9.09bn/-.
Standard Chartered Bank, net profit slowed by almost 4.0 per cent to 9.8bn/- mainly affected by operation expenses that increased by over 10 per cent despite closing two branches to remain with six.
Citibank, in the same quarter posted a net profit of 6.15bn/- compared to 5.6bn/- of quarter-one last year.
Bank M, a mid-size bank pretax profit increased by 48.4 per cent to 6.13bn/- in this year's first quarter compared to 4.13bn/- of similar quarter last year, after net interest and non-interest incomes generated hefty revenues.
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