NCBFG sees COVID-19 challenges as opportunities for digital innovation

May 1, 2020

Highlights of NCBFG’s recent financials for the six months ended March 31, 2020 were provided at its’ Investor briefing by the Group’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Dennis Cohen. The Group showcased the following highlights for the six months:
  •  Net profit attributable to shareholders closed at $9.57 billion for the six months relative to $12.46 billion in 2018, a 23% decline. The prior years’ six months results included a $3.3 billion gain on the disposal of an associate. Without this extraordinary gain, the net profit attributable to shareholders would have represented a 4% or $408 million increase year over.   
  •  The initial impact of the COVID-19 has resulted in losses on foreign currency and investment activities, credit impairment losses, reduction in fees and commission and a decrease in the carrying value of investment securities.
  • With respect to banking and investment activities, there were increases in net interest income and net fee and commission due to the consolidation of GHL and growth in loan portfolio. In addition, this was partially offset by an 82% decrease in gains on foreign currency and investment activities driven by losses on equity securities and reduced foreign exchange income compared to the prior year.
  •  Moreover, the net result from insurance activities grew 294% over the prior year also due to the consolidation of GHL.
  •  Operating expenses increased $15.8 billion or 61% over the prior years’ six month period. This growth was attributable to the growth in staff cost reflecting an expansion into 21 territories across the region.
  • Notably, the Group’s asset base is now $1.6 trillion, an increase of $640 billion or 66% over the prior year attributable to the consolidation of GHL.

Mr. Cohen also noted that “the impact of the virus has been far reaching and the economic downturn has adversely affected our financial performance.” In an effort to respond to these challenges, NCBFG has enabled telecommuting for employees who are able to work remotely. The main customer based locations has remained open but there has been reduced face to face customer time for branch employees to minimize potential exposure.  NCBFG has also provided personal protective equipment as well as encourage the use of digital channels.  Furthermore, NCBFG has formed response teams to address and monitor financial performance and support staff.

NCBFG has also announced COVID-19 Customer Assistance Programmes, such as:

  • Temporarily waived some banking transaction fees and moved some transactions fees and moved some transactions to digital channels
  • Deferred loan payments for 3 months
  • Launched a credit card skip payment for three months with no fees to customers
  • Enabled digital methods for transactions as well as allowing remote access for certain transactions
  • Extending Health Insurance coverage so that customers will have automatic access to 60 days of maintenance prescription drugs instead of the usual 30 days

Furthermore, NCBFG has leveraged its digital banking model to provide uninterrupted customer service. The Group has also partnered with central banks, governments  and regulators to support the financial system.

In addition, Mr. Patrick Hylton emphasized that the Group sees this challenge as an opportunity to transform digitally and accelerate how the Group operates. He noted that NCBFG is still committed to being a Caribbean Ecosystem. 

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