Stanbic makes 3rd rate move as peers dither
KAMPALA, SEPTEMBER 1 – Uganda’s largest lender Stanbic today announced another reduction in its lending rate bringing its prime to 22pc starting October.
The reduction, the third so far this year, mimics similar action by the central bank that has slashed 300 basis points off its CBR since April to 14 percent at its last sitting in August. The move puts Stanbic at par with Tropical Africa Bank which has been offering a prime of 22pc, as cheapest source of commercial credit in the market today.
Most of Stanbic’s peers have todate failed the central banker’s moves with their primes still trending above 23pc. Some did not respond to the previous two downward adjustments in the CBR, only making token reductions ranging from 0.5-1.5pc – equivalent to just a half of the central bank’s moves since April.
256BN has been told by a senior commercial banking figure that many lenders are trapped with high rates because they locked in generous interest rates on fixed deposits for customers when the CBR was still at 17 percent. According to the source, returns as high as 20pc are not unheard of in the industry. Yet, others are still struggling with huge non-performing assets – staggering their response to the CBR allows them to milk their more credit worthy borrowers. The non-performing portfolio is expected to peak at 9pc later this year.
The Bank of Uganda has adopted a relaxed monetary stance since April as it tries to jump-start a stalled economy that grew just 4.6pc in 2015 as firms were starved of credit amidst primes that averaged 27pc.
Inflation has also recently come down with the Uganda Bureau of Statics UBOS saying annual headline inflation had shrunk to 4.9pc in August. But UBOS says the reduction was not driven by improved supply but rather constrained demand because of low purchasing power parity.