Profit before tax and goodwill was $352 million, increasing by $102 million, or 41%, driven by positive operating leverage, efficiency gains, and improving credit quality. Considering the goodwill impairment charge of the prior year of $159 million, profit before tax of $352 million, increased $261 million, or 288%.
Net revenue, (operating income) was $1,265 million, increasing by $52 million, or 4%, or in constant currency by 6%. Revenue benefited from increases in net interest income and non-interest revenue, both increasing by $26m from the prior year, with solid revenue growth in Commercial and Consumer Bank. Net interest income was $697 million, an increase of $26 million, or 4%. Interest income rose $46 million, or 4%, mainly driven by interest income on higher investment securities balances, modest loan growth within Consumer and Commercial Bank, and the net impact of higher yields with AWA and CESA. Interest expense increased $19 million, or 5%, driven by the net impact of higher rates and modest increase in interest-bearing liabilities. As a result, the net interest margin (NIM) declined marginally to 5.1% from 5.2% in the prior year. The average cost of interest-bearing liabilities was 2.35%, down ten basis points compared to the preceding year. Noninterest revenue was $568 million, increasing $26 million, or 5%. Net fees and commission income increased $37 million, or 13%, to $316 million, driven by higher cash management fees, an increase in gross dollar volume on mobile and online payment activity, brokerage and credit-related fees, and other associated fees. These increases reflected robust customer activity supported by growing economic activity in most of our regions. Net trading income decreased $48 million, or 19%, to $210 million, predominantly driven by a significant reduction in fees associated with foreign currency trading. Other income of $28 million increased by $20 million, or 228%, driven by the sale of noncore assets and dividend income associated with investee associates of some of our affiliates.
Expenses were $737 million, decreasing by $32 million, or 4%, or in constant currency, by 4%. Hence, the cost-to-income ratio (efficiency ratio) improved to 58.3%, 514 basis points better than a year ago. Also, the cost-to-assets ratio, which measures costs to average assets, was 3.8% compared with 4.3% in the prior-year period. Staff expenses decreased $17 million, or 5%, to $325 million, partly due to a decrease in headcount. The depreciation and amortisation charge increased $4 million, or 5%, to $84 million, driven by digital and mobile capability enhancements to improve the customer experience and drive revenue growth. Other expenses fell $20 million, or 6%, partly due to the nonrecurring restructuring costs incurred in the prior year. Overall, cost reductions are benefiting from ‘manufacture centrally, distribute locally’ strategy, which saw us set up regional cost centers (RCC) and other efficiency initiatives.
Impairment charges on loans (net) were $103 million compared with $128 million in the prior year. Gross impairment charges were $231 million, $31 million more than a year ago, driven by higher impairment charges in our Francophone West Africa and Central, Eastern and Southern regions. Ongoing effectiveness of our NPL remedial and recovery strategy, asset quality improvements, and better economic conditions continued to sustain loan recoveries, which were $128 million for the period, increasing $55 million from the prior year. The cost-of-risk was 1.43% compared to 1.79% in the prior year.
Taxation - Income taxes were $98 million compared with $65 million in the prior-year period. The effective income tax rate (ETR) was 27.7% versus 26.1% (excluding the impact of the goodwill impairment charge) in the prior year.
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