Anthony Smart

'SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES’:FCB chairman Anthony Smart

MAJORITY State-owned First Citizens Bank (FCB) yesterday declared a 23.8 per cent decline in its after-tax profits for the six months ended March 31, 2021.

The commercial bank, in which the State has a 64.43 per cent controlling interest, reported $308.1 million after-tax profit for the period October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. That was down from $404.3 million for the same period in its 2020 financial year.

The First Citizens Group experienced an 11.3 per cent decline in its net interest income, which fell to $759.6 million for the first six months of its 2021 financial year, from $856.3 million in the prior period.

The bank also experienced a decline in its profit before tax, which fell by 24 per cent to $440.1 million in the 2021 financial year from $569 million in the 2020 financial year.

The First Citizens Group’s loans to customers were down by 3.8 per cent in the six months ended March 2020, falling to $18.7 billion from $19.4 billion.

The group’s total assets increased by 3.9 per cent to $47.4 billion as at March 2021, from $45.6 billion as at March 2020.

On the liabilities side of the bank’s balance FCB reported a 4.2 per cent in its customers’ deposits and other funding instruments, which increased to $33.2 billion from $31.5 billion. In his chairman’s report, FCB’s Anthony Smart said that like many other financial institutions working with customers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the First Citizens Group experienced “significant challenges” in the six-month period.

Smart said: “During this period, we advanced our strategy for geographic and product diversification by entering into a purchase and sale agreement with the Bank of Nova Scotia, subject to regulatory approvals in T&T and Guyana, with respect to Scotiabank’s branch operations in Guyana.

“We also made an equity investment in Term Finance Holdings Ltd , the parent company of Term Finance, a regional micro-finance lender.”

Smart said the First Citizens Group continues to advance its digital strategy, providing e-commerce solutions and process automation that promote sustainability in the new operating environment, for its customers.

FCB declared a second interim dividend of $0.28 per share, which brings its total dividends for the first half of the year to $0.64 per share. The corresponding dividend for the first six months of its 2020 financial year was $0.72. The second interim dividend will be paid on May 28, 2021 to shareholders on record as at May 12, 2021.

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