It has never been a more difficult environment in which to achieve flat earnings, says Nedbank CEO Mike Brown, who this week unveiled the bank’s interim results to June.Nedbank also revised down its growth forecast for SA, and called for urgency in dealing with the country’s deteriorating economic and fiscal situation.The bank reported a modest 2.6% improvement in earnings. But this was entirely due to a 20% increase in the rest-of-Africa earnings, to R293m.Its weakest link is its wealth business, which is down 12% to R455m, due to subdued demand for higher-margin local equity products.Its two main engines, the corporate & investment bank (CIB) and the retail & business banking division (RBB), reported flat earnings, with a lower interest margin and higher bad debts.Nedbank still has an appetite to lend and it increased its loans to customers by 6.7% to R759bn. It has gained market share in vehicle finance and home loans and reduced it in the more volatile personal loans and cards b...

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