Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) has revealed that its initial unaudited profit for 2011 is a 70 percent increase over the 2010 audited figure and the bank expects an even greater profit this year.
BCEL General Managing Director Mr Vanhkham Voravong led a press conference this week to report on the bank's performance in 2011 and its plan for 2012.
In his report, Mr Vanhkham said in accordance with the accounting system approved by the Bank of the Lao PDR, BCEL has made an initial profit of 239 billion kip.
“Compared with the audited profit in 2010, profits are up 70 percent.”
He reported that the bank is currently undergoing the external auditing process. “After the audit report is ready, we expect to hold a shareholders' meeting to consider the distribution of the 2011 dividends to eligible shareholders.”
“The dividends are expected to be distributed in April,” he added.
“As we have continually improved and expanded our services, this year's profits should be more than last year's. However, the size of dividends will also depend on the shareholders' meeting and the bank's investment plan.”
The bank had many achievements in 2011: it became a public company and joined with French partner COFIBRED, which now holds 10 percent of BCEL's shares.
The bank became a full member of the international VISA Card Centre as well as the international Master Card centre.
It expanded its service network, adding 9 service units, 1 exchange unit and 24 ATMs. It now has 18 branches in all provinces of Laos, including two in Vientiane. The bank has 33 service units, 9 foreign exchange units and 160 ATMs around the country.
It expanded the number of ATM cards to 51,813 cards and the number of VISA cards to 1,315. It expanded loans to 33 percent more than its plan, attracted deposits 19 percent more than the plan and made profits 13 percent beyond its goal.
The bank also instituted a bill-payment system for convenient payment of utility bills for electricity, water and fixed line telephones. This service will be available starting in March.
It also installed more modern equipment and upgraded its information technology systems.
The bank was awarded the Lao Bank of the Year 2011 award by the UK-based Banker Magazine.
“With regard to the expansion of the service network and development of various services, the public has praised the bank for its impressive and quick services comparable to those at the international level.”
Mr Vanhkham reported that in 2012, BCEL will continue to upgrade its banking services in many areas.
It will inaugurate the bill-payment service and prepaid cards and will keep studying e-commerce and other financial services.
It will strive to be a member of Master Card to issue Master cards, and provide Amex payment service via EDC machines.
The bank also plans to expand its service network and strengthen its financial status to provide the highest return to shareholders.
The bank also continues to co ntribute to social and economic development by providing loans for infrastructure projects such as building schools.
The bank also contributes to the government by paying income taxes, along with profit tax and dividends. The bank paid the government 61 billion kip in 2009 and 78 billion kip in 2010. In 2011, BCEL paid the government in advance 38 billion kip in profit tax and 40 billion kip for dividends.