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Commonwealth Bank records $50m profit

At the Commonwealth Bank's annual general meeting held this week, chairman William Sands Jr said that the bank earned more than $50 million in profits, and in 2015 hit new highs in assets, share price and community donations. 

Friday, June 17, 2016
Friday, June 17, 2016

At the Commonwealth Bank‘s annual general meeting held this week, chairman William Sands Jr said that the bank earned more than $50 million in profits, and in 2015 hit new highs in assets, share price and community donations.

“2015 was a record year for the bank and represented the fourth time in the bank’s history that profits exceeded $50 million,” said Sands. “That speaks to the quality of the management of your bank.”

Sands, along with president Ian Jennings, credited the bank’s conservative lending policy, prudent management oversight of the lending portfolio and management and staff dedication with making the all-Bahamian owned and operated financial institution “the most successful public Bahamian company.”

Commonwealth Bank traded actively on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX), accounting for more than 30 per cent of all shares traded during the year, with the demand for shares driving common share price up from $7.84 at year-end 31 December and hitting a record high of $9.30 1 June, the day of the annual general meeting.

The bank paid out 68 per cent of net income, or $29.5 million, in shareholder dividends in 2015.

Total assets stood at more than $1.54 billion at year-end. Total profit was $57.8 million, an increase of more than 8 per cent over 2014. Gross revenues topped $152 million, up more than 9 per cent year over year.

Loan loss ratios fared well, both in provisions and in actual loan impairment. Impaired loans – 90 days or more in arrears –Commonwealth Bank experienced only 3.9 per cent, the lowest percentage in four years, while industry wide (among retail banks in The Bahamas) the average was 14.8 per cent.

“The bank’s carefully managed risk appetite with emphasis on consumer lending has driven its continuing popularity and success and mitigated against potential loss in an economy still struggling with high unemployment, a strategy more banks are now emphasizing,” Jennings said.

The positive figures, shareholders learned, were earned despite economic challenges coupled with an increase of more than 20 per cent in business license fees and taxes to a total of $8 million for the year.

The bank’s social responsibility totalled more than half a million dollars being reinvested in the community in 2015.

“Despite the uncertainty facing the country in 2016, the bank posted strong earnings of $15.5 million for the first quarter 2016, which is undeniably a very good result in this economy.”

Looking forward, the bank will introduce a chip-enabled VISA debit card and a new online banking platform with vastly expanded capabilities as the bank aims to remain at the forefront of personal banking in The Bahamas.

The Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce is establishing a new venture capital fund with the aim of supporting the island's fledging entrepreneurs.

The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants has held its 2016 Annual General Meeting. At the AGM, BICA president Darnell Osborne (pictured) highlighted milestones over the past year, while outlining the Institute’s plans for the coming year.

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