Scotia Group is ramping up its profitability, leading the way for banking groups in Jamaica.
For the half-year period ended April 30, 2023, Scotia is reporting net income of J$7.6 billion, representing an increase of J$4.0 billion or 108.4 per cent over the comparative period in 2022. Based on published data, this is the highest profitability for the period for a banking group in Jamaica.
The two other major banking groups in Jamaica, NCB Financial Group and Sagicor have not performed so well as Scotia in terms of profitability. In the case of NCB, the entity lost profitability for the half year ended March 2023 with profitability shrinking to J$6.3 billion.
This is a 59 per cent or J$8.9 billion decline from the prior year. While Sagicor has not yet reported on its half-year performance, the first quarter performance saw investment income of J$4.16 billion in fees and other income from non-insurance segments.
Second quarter performance
Scotia’s net income for the April quarter amounted to J$4.2 billion, reflecting an increase of J$788 million or 23 per cent over the previous quarter. The Group’s performance continues to be anchored by solid growth across all its business lines, prudent risk management and efficient management of our operations.
Reflecting on the performance, president and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica, Audrey Tugwell Henry commented, “we remain laser-focused on our strategy, and this has allowed us to maintain momentum across our lines of business supported firmly by our ongoing customer service improvements and digital transformation initiatives. Our customers continue to place their trust in us, evidenced by sustained growth in our deposit book and as we continue to evolve as a full-suite financial services provider.”
She noted that customers have shown increasing interest in Scotia’s new and innovative products, including those offered by the recently launched subsidiary, Scotia General Insurance Agency. According to her, ”we have seen increasing interest in our products and services resulting in strong performances across the business. Total deposits increased by 10 per cent ($437.6 billion in 2023 up from J$ 397.7 billion in 2022), as customers continue to trust us to manage their financial affairs.”
Total loans during the period increased by 20.3 per cent, up J$42.1 billion compared the respective period in 2022. The retail banking business also performed well with our flagship Scotia Plan Loans increasing by 12 per cent versus the corresponding period in 2022. Tugwell-Henry added, “we continue to support customers to buy a home with highly competitive interest rates for mortgages. As a result, our mortgage business continues to perform exceptionally with a 31 per cent increase versus the prior period.”
The corporate and commercial segment delivered growth of 23 per cent over prior period, as the team continued to provide relevant financial solutions, sound relationship management and exemplary services to business customers. There continues to be strong growth in Scotia’s digital payment solutions for business customers with near universal adoption of its outgoing payment solutions on its propriety channels.
The banking group has also seen strong adoption of its eCommerce solutions and enhanced tax payment service introduced during the last two quarters. In terms of its insurance subsidiary, Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance reported net insurance revenue of J$1 billion compared to J$136 million in the prior period, reflecting a year over year increase of J$894 million.
At Scotia Investments, all its funds continue to perform well with yields beating the respective benchmarks. Scotia Premium Short Term Income Fund JMD and Scotia Premium US$ Indexed Fund continue to deliver best-in-class performances ranking in the top two among similar funds. This performance is a testament to Scotia’s investment management expertise as well as its commitment to deliver the best risk-adjusted returns to its customers.