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ProCredit Bank releases 2008 annual report

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, May 21
ProCredit Bank presented its 2008 annual report on May 20. The report says that the bank recorded an after-tax profit of GEL 13.6 million last year, about GEL 10.2 million more than in 2007. According to the General Director of ProCredit Bank Georgia, Philipp Pott, despite the August war in 2008 and the world financial crisis the bank managed to open 16 more branches throughout Georgia during the year and employ 300 new people, the overall staff number now being 1,800.

Pott said at a special press briefing in Tbilisi Marriott Hotel that the bank’s gross loan portfolio has also increased by more than 36 percent, to GEL 526.1 million. After strong growth in the first seven months of the year, the loan portfolio stagnated for the period August to December, as demand for loans declined. However despite the worsening economic environment in the last months of the year, the loan portfolio quality remained high, with only 1.2% of loans more than 30 days in arrears as of December 2008. The quantity of deposits has increased by 6.3 percent, Pott said, adding that this trend was observable at the beginning of 2008 but by the end of the year the increase had stopped. “Despite this, the fact that the bank was able to increase its total deposit holdings in 2008 means that the bank is reliable and trusted,” Pott noted.

The General Director of ProCredit Bank said that in March 2009, ProCredit Holding AG (Frankfurt am Main) purchased the remaining 6.1% of the bank’s shares from IPC (Internationale Projekt Consult) GmbH and became the sole shareholder of ProCredit Bank Georgia. This share purchase was in line with the general strategy of the ProCredit group, ProCredit Holding having become, or being in the process of becoming, the main shareholder in all ProCredit banks.

“Despite the worsening economic environment, ProCredit Bank developed rapidly in 2008 in all respects, with the number of its customers increasing day by day. ProCredit Bank has long established itself in Georgia as a leading bank in terms of financing small and medium-sized enterprises as well as a reliable partner for private individuals, who look for a stable bank with which to entrust their savings. Thanks to the bank’s strong financial position and our shareholders, I am convinced that we will achieve the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves in the years to come,” Pott said.

The General Director noted that in the future ProCredit Bank will remain focused on lending to very small, small, and medium-sized businesses, as the bank is convinced that these businesses create the largest number of jobs and make a vital contribution to the Georgian economy. Unlike most other banks, ProCredit Bank is not focused on consumer lending. The bank’s key goal is to offer reliable lending services by establishing long-term relationships with its customers. ProCredit Bank will also continue encouraging the savings culture in Georgia, as it is convinced that savings add stability to households in the long term.

To serve as many clients as possible, in 2009 several new branches will be opened, which will allow the bank to improve its outreach in Tbilisi and in the country’s regions.