Zambia 2017 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Armando Massimiliano Sirolla, CEO, AB Bank Zambia on the sector.

Armando Massimiliano Sirolla

How does AB Bank differentiate itself in the market?

Despite the crisis in terms of currency, the challenges due to the elections, poor macroeconomics, and tight liquidity in the market, we managed to grow our portfolio in terms of asset size by over 50% (over 70% in terms of net portfolio loans) and the liability side by 46%. We achieved this with an NPL below 2% at year-end. This growth took place because we have strategically been working to focus on our target groups. All the banks in Zambia are fighting for the same 5% of the market; however, we deal with smaller loans, providing credit between ZMK3,000 and ZMK50,000 (micro-product), or between ZMK51,000 and ZMK3 million (SME product). In 2015, we introduced an agribusiness product, implemented in 2016, with close to 1,017 farmers as clients by the end of the year who took average loans of about ZMK20,000. Our microfinance clients make up around 50-60% of our portfolio while the other 40-50% consists of SMEs. In the future, we hope our limit of ZMK3 million will increase as our equity and profit increases; however, currently we are still a small bank and relatively new in the market.