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HomeInterviewAhmed Rjiba: 2014 a satisfactory year and 2015 looks promising

Ahmed Rjiba: 2014 a satisfactory year and 2015 looks promising

Ahmed Rejiba, CEO of the “Banque de l’Habitat” gave Africanmanager an exclusive interview in which he talked about the financial position of the bank in the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 as well as the major projects of the bank for the coming years.

Ahmed Rejiba spoke, too, of the recapitalization of the bank and the results of the full audit.

What do you think of the financial position of the bank in 2014 and how 2015 looks?

The year 2014 was a good year for the “Banque de l’Habitat” (BH) and the results will be good compared to the fiscal year 2013, the year in which we had a deficit of 220 MTD, resulting from the application of the new BCT circular on additional provisions and by the worsening of the risk class of certain relationships that are experiencing economic difficulties.

However, in 2014, the bank experienced a revival and was marked by an increase in outstanding loans (+589.9 MTD or 14.1%) and a greater effort in mobilizing customer deposits (551 MTD or 13.5%). It also posted the best development of the market NBI i.e. 17.8%. The junction of these figures will certainly give a profit between 40 and 60 million dinars. This performance is the result of a combined effort of all the teams in the “Banque de l’Habitat.”

And what about 2015?

For the year 2015, the “Banque de l’Habitat” has continued in this growth momentum and recorded in the first two months of 2015, a result of 14 MTD against 3 MTD in the same period in 2013. We plan to capitalize on the 2014 effort and achieve an annual growth rate of around 10 to 15%, bringing the net profit for the financial year 2015 to 65 MTD and 85 MTD by 2016.

The bank is now going through a stage of recapitalization. Can you talk about that?

The process of recapitalization of BH has begun since February 18, 2015, when the Extraordinary General Meeting was held.

The needs of the bank recapitalization are estimated at 200 MTD. We are currently awaiting the approval of the CMF (Financial Market Council) for the capital increase that will be 50 MTD in cash plus an issue premium of 60 MTD. We will also carry out a capital increase by incorporation of reserves with the distribution of bonus shares of 30 MTD and use a subordinated bond of 90 MTD. This increase and this loan will allow the bank to regain its financial health and to respect the prudential ratios with a solvency ratio of 10%.

And what about the results of the audit?

The audit results are available and the bank began to implement a comprehensive restructuring plan approved by the Board, the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT).

In terms of the information system, we are in a logic of acquisition of Best of Breed, which includes the foreign component, credit, collections, litigation, guarantees… With these applications, we believe that we will be more efficient. Thus, we will be able to meet the international standards.

Regarding the component of the governance mode, a separation of powers between the President of the Board and the CEO has been initiated, in order to establish the rules of good governance by adopting a model in which the Chairman of the Board is responsible for putting in place the strategy of the bank and ensuring its implementation, while the CEO will be responsible for the implementation of this strategy.

As to performance, an organizational mission was entrusted to a firm in order to establish and implement a global organization and a new organization within the bank.

On the human resources front, we will conduct a targeted recruitment to support the evolution of the bank and plan to recruit 300 executives in three years.

What are the other projects of the bank?

The bank is in the process of developing its commercial device. Indeed it seeks to intensify the openings with an average of 15 new agencies a year, while targeting new locations such as Soukra, El Manar, the lake and el Manazeh.

We also plan to develop an internal reorganization of agencies with the creation of business centers, strengthening the consultancy approach and providing support tools for decision making and for sale.

There is also the enrichment and enhancement of the portfolio product by target segment such as bancassurance products, e-banking, m-banking and payment methods.

We have also implemented a new credit policy directed more towards new niches.

You just talked about a new credit policy; can you give us more details on this policy?

BH is a leader in the retail customer market and intends to stay there or develop it further.

We also plan to diversify the credit portfolio and extend it by moving towards the financing of industrial and service sectors, especially in sectors with high added value such as ICT, pharmaceutical and health sectors.

What are the projections of the bank in figures?

We have adopted a business plan that goes with our restructuring plan. For the next four years, we expect a growth in demand deposits by 23%, a rise in savings by 8% and a 7% increase of fixed deposits.

For loans, we expect an annual growth of 12-13%.

As an indication, we just launched a new product “BH capital plus,” whose results are very encouraging. This allowed collecting 1.8 MTD of savings in the space of 15 days of marketing.

These savings will allow households, over a period of six months, to have a credit that can cover all the urgent needs such as medical care, marriage, home furnishings.

The projected results for the next three years announce an annual growth of 10% to 15% of our net income.

Standard and Poor’s downgraded in its latest report the Tunisian banking sector’s score, what do you think?

With an improved political climate and the resumption of economic activity, we hope there will be better performance for the entire sector. In the case of BH, rating agency Standard and Poor’s has not downgraded; it rather improved it to BB + with a stable outlook. This is a significant rating we would like to improve in 2015 with the recapitalization and the resumption of bank’s activity.

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