KARACHI-The 71st annual general meeting of National Bank was held through electronic means. The meeting that was initially scheduled to be held on April 24, 2020, was suspended till date due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The meeting was attended by all the members of the NBP Board as well as its senior management and a large number of shareholders.

The shareholders were briefed that for the year 2019, the Bank recorded a solid growth in terms of both balance sheet size and income. Despite a generally difficult year for the economy, the bank’s net mark-up / interest income closed 18.5% higher YoY at Rs. 71.9 billion (2018: Rs. 60.7 billion). The bank also earned non-mark-up / interest earning of Rs. 36.2 billion. Accordingly, total income of the Bank closed at Rs. 108.1 billion i.e. 11.5% higher than Rs. 96.9 billion of 2018. In 2019, total expenses for the year amounted to Rs. 65.7 billion against Rs. 55.7 billion for the year 2018. This amount however included a total of Rs. 7.3 billion of provision related to extraordinary HR related costs.

Reflecting the general trend of deterioration in asset quality observed across the industry in 2019, NBP also experienced an 11.5% increase in non-performing loans. While provision charge amounted to Rs. 14.3 billion, profit before tax closed at Rs. 28.0 billion, being 5.7% lower YoY. The bank has consequently focused on strengthening its balance sheet through this provisioning and through building contingency buffers for a total of Rs. 21.6 billion. Due to retrospective applicability of super tax in 2019, the bank’s tax burden amounted to Rs. 12.2 billion, resulting in PAT ofRs. 15.8 billion.

During 2019, total assets of the bank increased by 11.6% to Rs. 3,124.4 billion, from Rs. 2,798.6 billion a year before. Gross advances increased by 8.7% to Rs. 1,151.3 billion, investment (at cost) closed 12.1% up at Rs. 1,417.6 billion, and deposits grew by 9.3% to Rs. 2,198.0 billion. The Bank is facing contingencies related to pension benefits of its retired employees, and has filed a review petition where a final decision is still awaited. The financial impact of the subject case has not been included in the instant financial statements as the Bank looks forward to a favourable outcome of the case.

The CEO apprised the shareholders that the bank is constantly monitoring the situation regarding the swift spread of the COVID-19. Amid the pandemic, the bank is taking all necessary steps to ensure the well being of its employees and customers and at the same time prevent any potential business impact to the economy.

The shareholders unanimously approved the annual financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 along with all other items on the agenda of the meeting.