This year, because of the Covid-19 lockdown, GBS Mutual Bank (GBS) is holding its first virtual AGM. And with its annual annual client and investor dinner cancelled for the first time in 22 years, it’s apt that GBS earlier this year stepped in to assist in hunger relief in Makhanda. The bank donated R15 000 for the Food 4 Futures food parcel programme administered by Mary Birt, R15 000 to the Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset’s hunger relief project, and R10 000 to Makana Revive Trust’s Solidarity Fast feeding scheme.
GBS has its head office in Makhanda, with branches in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred. Each year, GBS makes donations and gives financial support to appreciative worthy causes, societies, clubs, educational institutions and other organisations. As a corporate citizen, GBS has this year supported the efforts of Makhanda residents who have volunteered their services in the various community food parcel and feeding schemes during lockdown.
“’A good banker will have accumulated in ordinary times the reserve he is to make use of in extraordinary times,'” said GBS Mutual Bank Managing Director Anton Vorster, quoting from 19th Century British journalist, businessman and essayist Walter Bagehot.
This year’s annual report showed that continued support from clients and members meant the bank remained well capitalised with a capital adequacy ratio of 12.5% against a required ratio of 10%.
“Liquidity is better than it has ever been,” Vorster said in the report.
The GBS’s results for the year to March 2020 were materially affected by the increase in debt provisions and market-to-market adjustments of R29.2 million. This resulted in the bank reporting a bottom-line loss of R7.8 million against a profit of R13 million last year.
“While it is disappointing to report a loss, short-term changes in net income or loss do not determine the long-term success of the bank, and our core operations remain robust,” Vorster said. “We are focused on ensuring the sustainability of the bank and maintaining the excellent client service ethic that has ensured our success over the last 143 years.”
The balance sheet added R85 million or 5.5% to R1.619-billion in a tough environment, explained Vorster. “Loans and advancement growth was 5.6% while share and other deposits grew by 6.9%. Cash, cash equivalents, and investments increased from R349 million to R378 million.”
In the coming months, the GBS board and management would be focused on ensuring that key banking metrics were maintained and that as far as possible the bank’s clients were well supported and serviced through the current crisis.
The Grahamstown Building Society opened its doors for business in 1877, making it one of the oldest banking institutions in South Africa, at 143 years. It converted to a mutual bank in 1994, becoming GBS Mutual Bank. The Cape Town branch was opened in 1996, the Port Elizabeth branch in 2007, and the Port Alfred branch in 2008.