The Grenada Co-Operative Bank Limited (GCBL) has reported for the first time in its history a $1.1 billion increase in deposits – exactly one year after the financial institution crossed the billion dollar mark in total assets.
In making the announcement, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Daryl Brathwaite told reporters at a media briefing held at the Conference Room of the bank on Church Street last Wednesday, that this is a significant milestone that makes Co-op Bank the leader in deposit market share among commercial banks on the island.
Brathwaite said that GCBL can safely report an unaudited net profit of $5.9 million for the first half of the 2019 financial year.
“This is an increase of $1.8 million or 44% on last year’s comparative – these improvements were primarily triggered by an increase in the operating income and improved loan portfolio quality…”, he added.
According to Brathwaite, the bank’s total assets grew by 6% over the first 6 months of the financial year and now stands at $1.12 billion and that Customer deposits, stands at 1.01 billion, an increase of $56 million from the $955 million recorded at the last reporting date.
He said: “The bank was able to cross the billion dollar mark in deposits, just one year after crossing the billion dollar mark in assets – a continued signal of the liquidity in the market”.
Executive Manager of Finance at GCBL, Allana Joseph attributed the performance of the local economy to the success of the bank and customers’ continued confidence in co-op bank and the banking system in Grenada.
“… We should not underestimate the impact of the strengthening of Grenada’s economy and its good fiscal health on the performance of deposits in the market. On the flip side, the growth on deposits in the banking sector brings an additional dimension, which involves the effective management of the excess liquidity to ensure that we give the best return to our shareholders, while we manage or we ensure safety and that’s where your strategic and continued management come to play,” she remarked.
Co-op officials stressed that one of the obvious benefits that can be expected from this financial achievement is a decrease in interest rates to its customers.
“Right now we have an excess of liquidity, so we would expect all interest rates to go down – loan rates, as well as deposit rates,” Chairman Brathwaite said.
However, he cautioned that GCBL is mindful of the fact that it needs to ensure that good banking practices and services remain in place.
Joseph told reporters that customers who wish to benefit from the financial success of the bank, can invest in its shares listed on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE).
She urged them to “visit our Brokerage and Investment Services Unit, where our licensed representatives can facilitate training activities, as well as build and diversify investment portfolios on the exchange and other brokerage and investment related services”.
“Secondly, I might add – the public can become and remain loyal Co-op Bank Customers utilising the bank’s products and services, as we strive to continually provide superior financial products for the market,” she said.
Managing Director at the Bank, Richard Duncan told reporters that shareholders can expect the largest payout in dividends at year-end given the financial success of Co-op bank.
“The shareholders, having purchased shares of the bank, will be paid an enhanced dividend because the bank belongs to the shareholders, and the dividend policy that the board has approved suggest that dividends will increase with the level of profits in the bank…there will be enhanced dividend for the 2019 financial year,” he said.
When asked what the future plans of the bank in going forward in terms of maintaining the numbers as announced, Duncan said: “Our strategy is based on ensuring our customers get the best quality service that we can offer – customer experience is critical for us. The pricing of our products and services is vital. Contain expenses…extremely important, and fundamentally, the loan portfolio quality management that is vital going forward. So, I think, on these pillars of management strategies, we will be able to sustain those results.
“I do want to underscore, however, that the performance of Grenada’s economy is also vital. If the economy continues to strengthen, then all forms should have improved performance and our bank will be out front in that performance”, he added.