Bank Profits in Botswana Drop 32% on Tight Margins, Frozen Fees

Profits at Botswana’s banks dropped 32 percent in the first nine months of 2015 from a year earlier as reduced interest margins, rising bad debts and a freeze on fees imposed by the regulator weighed on lenders in the southern African country.

Combined net income fell to 789.7 million pula ($73 million), the Bank of Botswana said in a report published Nov. 27 on its website. Banks’ net interest income slipped about 8 percent to 2.3 billion pula, as provisions for bad and doubtful debts climbed 3.8 percent.

Barclays Plc’s local unit in September said “low interest rates, subdued economic growth, imposed fee moratorium and tight liquidity conditions played a major role” as first-half profit dropped 30 percent. In January 2014, the central bank imposed a two-year freeze on bank charges and fees, citing “growing public concern.”

— With assistance by Mbongeni Mguni

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