Higher lending lifts profit for Rwanda's Bank of Kigali

KIGALI, March 27 Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:02pm EDT

KIGALI, March 27 (Reuters) - Rwanda's Bank of Kigali reported a 26 percent rise in full-year net profit, largely driven by expansion of its loan book and net interest income.

Net profit rose to 14.8 billion Rwandan francs ($22 million) for 2013, with net interest income rising 55 percent to 33.3 billion francs, while other fees and commissions also rose, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

The lender formally launched an agency banking service during the year, allowing customers to open accounts through agents across Rwanda.

It has also started mobile phone banking, following the lead of a number of African banks - notably in Kenya - to expand financial services to remote areas and poorer communities.

Rwanda expects its economy to grow by 6 percent this year and 6.7 percent in 2015 after a loss of foreign aid caused it to miss its forecast target for last year. Growth dropped to 4.6 percent last year, well below the central bank's forecast of 6.6 percent. (Reporting by Jenny Clover; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by David Goodman)

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