Equity Bank in South Sudan has sent home 200 of its 300 workers in the country following closure of more than half of its branches in the troubled country.

The Kenya-based bank has also frozen lending in the country due to political uncertainty as a protracted civil war brought many businesses in South Sudan to a halt.

Equity, which had thirteen branches in the country, now only operates five with the closures having been announced in May.

Earnings drop

This was revealed at an investor briefing Tuesday morning, as the lender said it had recorded a 7.4 per cent drop in half-year after-tax profit as interest income took a hit from the rate cap law.

The lender’s net profit for the period to June 2017 was at Sh9.33 billion compared to 10.07 billion in a similar period last year.

Net interest income for the top-tier lender fell by 15.5 per cent to Sh17.9 billion from Sh21.2 billion in June 2016.

Equity’s loan book contracted to Sh265 billion in the period under review, compared to Sh269 billion last year.

Non-interest income went up 19.6 per cent to Sh12.9 billion.

“The banking industry going through a difficult environment. Interest rate caps has had effect on the economy,” Group CEO James Mwangi said at the briefing.

Via Business Daily