This is evident from the bank’s annual report published today.
Revenues are exploding, as are costs
The bank has grown like cabbage in 2022, and income has also risen sharply. Interest income rose from around 5 million euros to 41.4 million euros. This is a direct result of the European Central Bank (ECB) raising interest rates.
Total income rose from over €26m to just under €70m. But costs rose faster, such as personnel costs and marketing costs. They’ve almost tripled, to €29m and €27m, so that’s still a huge loss down the line.
However, there didn’t seem to be any sign of slight temper. According to the bank, the last quarter of 2022 was profitable, and the bank itself wrote that it expects to continue writing black numbers from now on. The bank says it was also profitable in the first quarter of 2023.
Tens of millions of shareholder support
However, Bong can’t stand on her feet. Last year, shareholders, notably CEO Ali Niknam himself and British investor Pauline Street Capital, had to scramble again to keep banks’ mandatory reserves up to standard. And they pumped another 9 million euros in capital into Bong to keep the bank stable.
And also at the beginning of 2023 the portfolio was withdrawn. In January shareholders added another 6 million euros and in April another 37 million.
This seems like a bad sign, but it isn’t necessarily. In the first months of the year, the savings held in Bong increased by about 600 million euros, according to the bank. Banks should own more shares the more money they manage. According to a spokesman, the capital injection was necessary because bank balances increased very quickly.
58.5 million in reserve
Last year, Niknam and Pollen promised to have a bag of cash worth 58.5 million ready in case the bank needed it, according to the annual report. In April, Niknam didn’t want to say anything about how far shareholders were willing to go to keep the bank afloat if necessary. 43 million euros from the beginning of this year and 9 million euros from last year come from this pot, which should now contain about 7 million.
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