The Togo-based bank has operations in around 30 African countries, more than any other lender.
Pan-African lender Ecobank saw profit after tax rising 50 per cent this year as bad loans decline and it curbs costs by encouraging customers to use digital platforms more often.
“Our credit portfolio is not as bad as it used to be,” CEO Ade Ayeyemi said in an interview in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. “Our intention is to get our cost-income ratio from 60 per cent today to 50 per cent in the medium term. Once we do that, we will be able to generate a return on equity above 20 per cent.”
It made a post-tax profit of $228 million in 2017 and a return on equity, a key measure of a bank’s profitability, of 10 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
While Ecobank executives went on a roadshow to meet global debt investors last month, they will hold off on a Eurobond for now, according to Ayeyemi. Ecobank doesn’t need the funding and the sell-off in emerging markets over the past three months has made conditions tougher, he said.
“There was no trade war when we started,” he said. “There were no challenges in Turkey. As per now, we just wait. If we do not get a window, we do it next year.”
Ecobank shares have risen 21 per cent in Lagos this year.