First Citizens Bank, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.

State-owned First Citizens recorded a profit after tax of $607 million for the year ended September 30, 2020.

This was a decline of 19 per cent when compared for the same period last year.

“Even though the achievement of our targets was hindered by the global pandemic, we view these results positively within the context of the worldwide economic impact of COVID-19,” Chairman Anthony Smart stated.

Smart said despite the economic challenges the financial institution experienced year on year growth in its customer loans portfolio of 2.2 per cent and investments of 3.7 per cent which was funded by customer deposits which grew by 11.9 per cent.

The increase in loans to customers was $416 million for the year ended September 30, 2020.

First Citizens Bank Ltd and its subsidiaries recorded loans to customers of $19.040 billion for the financial year.

For the same the previous year the figure was $18.624 billion.

Customer deposits grew by over $3 billion from $25.851 billion in 2019 to $28.917 in 2020.

Total assets as at September 2020 amounted to $47.4 billion which was an increase of 9.4 per cent when compared to last year.

“COVID-19 has created unprecedented economic and social challenges worldwide. However, First Citizens remains steadfast in our commitment to all our stakeholders; combining our advanced corporate governance regime with dynamic and innovative business strategies and robust risk management to navigate these uncertainties,” Smart stated.

“This approach has afforded us international recognition by the award to the Bank by Latin Finance and The Banker respectively, Bank of the Year Caribbean 2020 (winner) and Top CARICOM Banks (third overall). We will continue to work with our customers and support our communities through this challenging period,” he stated.

As a result of this, the Board declared a final dividend of 45 cents per share.

“This represents a slightly higher payment when compared with the pre-COVID-19 first-quarter dividend of 44 cents and brings the total divided for the fiscal year to $1.37 when compared with $1.70 for 2019. This decline is aligned to the reduction in year on year Profit After Tax,” Smart stated.

The final dividend will be paid on January 7 to all shareholders on record as at December 23.

“I wish to commend management and staff for the exemplary service during this difficult period and take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to our customers, shareholders, my fellow directors and all other stakeholders for their invaluable contribution toward the continuing growth and sustainability of the Fist Citizens Group,” Smart stated.