RAKBank is the latest UAE entity to line up upbeat numbers for the first quarter of 2023. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: RAKBank’s income and net profit for the first three months 2023 set up new ‘records’, at Dh1.07 billion and Dh450 million. The gains were driven by loan advances, with the bank reporting significant win in getting new business clients on board, especially among startups.

During the period, Dh571 million were distributed as business loans, of which Dh394 million were to new customers. “In diversifying our income sources, we achieved robust growth on both sides of the balance-sheet, across interest and fee incomes, and in all our segments,” said Raheel Ahmed, CEO.

The biggest takeaway for the bank will still be the 105 per cent year-on-year increase on the net profit, brought on predominantly by operational gains. The bank also mentions the ‘lower cost of funds’ as a factor.

All of which showed up in the net interest margin, which rose to 4.9 per cent against the 3.8 per cent from a year ago. This ‘continues to be among the highest in the industry’, the bank adds.

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“Our high CASA (current account savings account) ratio in our deposit base of 70.5 per cent - despite the high interest rate environment - is a testament of the strong relationships we built with customers,” said Ahmed. “We enhanced our operational leverage and improved our cost-income ratio through our strong cost discipline, and our cost of risk reduced via diversifying our business mix.

“We continue to back entrepreneurs and start-ups by opening more than 4,000 business accounts in Q1-23, of which 1,600 accounts were opened for startups.”

Personal loans

On personal loan advances, RAKBank is experiencing the same trajectory as the other banks to have announced results for Q1-23 – up.

Gross loans and advances were at Dh19.1 billion, higher by 1 per cent year-on-year. Driving these numbers were auto loans (higher by 6 per cent), mortgages (5 per cent) and personal loans (0.3 per cent). Customer deposits totalled Dh16.7B, a substantial 22 per cent higher year-on-year driven by higher term deposit.

Rest of ‘23

“Our outlook remains positive yet cautious, with the buoyant UAE economy and uncertain global macro set up as backdrops,” said Ahmed. “While we closely monitor the headwinds of inflation, rising interest rates, geopolitical developments, we will continue building on the bank’s strengths and remain committed to delivering on our strategy.”

Provisions rise
1.) During Q1-2023, RAKBank’s provision for credit losses increased by 73.9 per cent to Dh233.9 million compared to Q1 2022, due to ‘prudent precautionary measures in anticipation of expected developments’. But when taken on a quarter-on-quarter basis, the provision for credit loss actually declined 30.9 per cent.

2.) In the same period, net credit losses to average loans and advances closed at 2.5 per cent (vs Q4-22’s 3.4 per cent).

3.) The non-performing loans and advances to the gross loans and advances ratio remained the same at 3 per cent compared to end December last.