Business

Access posts higher profit on increased demand for micro loans

Saturday, March 08, 2014    

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MICROLENDING outfit Access Financial Services says an improvement in services increased the demand for its products and has led to the 15 per cent jump in its year-end profit.

For the 12 months ended December 31, 2013, the company posted $270 million in net profit, up from $238 million in the corresponding period in the prior year.

Interest income from loans increased by 28 per cent or $759.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2013, from $595.3 million in the prior year.

Interest Income from securities fell by 26 per cent, down from $2.3 million in the corresponding period in 2012 to $1.7 million during the year under review.

Still total interest income for the review period is $761.5 million, up from $597.7 million.

Net interest income was 27 per cent more year over year, up from $570 million to $724.5 million, while net fees and commissions from loans for the year ended December 2013 was $39.2 million, up from $28.5 million.

The company spent much of last year focusing on meeting its customers' needs, said Marcus James, CEO of Access Financial.

"We spent a lot of time sending officers on the ground, we improved the physical infrastructure of some of our locations, namely Kingston, Montego Bay, Portmore, Black River and Junction," he said.

Moreover, the company's Kingston branch enables clients to access loans without walking into the office. Access also sends funds directly to its customers' bank accounts.

James added: "One of our goals was to provide funds to our customers within 24 hours."

The drive to improve efficiency was reflected in the operating cost of the company - for the year under review, the company incurred $510.3 million, 9 per cent more than it did year over year.

Staff cost increased by 41 per cent for the year ended December 2013, up from $150.5 million in the comparative period in the prior year to $226.3 million. Allowance for credit losses was $96.7 million, up from $73 million.

During the year, the company wrote off loans valued at $149.7 million.

Access is one of the first two companies to issue corporate bonds, and list them on the Jamaica Stock Exchange's (JSE) bond market.

It raised $102 million to expand its loan portfolio for working capital and general corporate purposes, some of which has already been put to use.

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