2019 augured the start of the new Three-Year Development Plan (TDP) 2019 - 2021, which embodies all the development and growth goals of the Group.
We closed the year with the consolidated balance sheet up 11.5% to EUR 8.5 billion, deposits up 9.3% and loans up 5.2% to EUR 4.3 billion.
The balance sheet transformation of the Corporate segment, with emphasis on SMEs, is reflected in the number of loans, which increased by 21%, but not yet in value, given the decrease in the average loan amount disbursed.
Net Operating Income increased by 8.9% to EUR 542.6 million, mainly driven by a sharp increase in income from commissions and others of 24%, or EUR 215 million, which accounts for over 46% of banking income of EUR 462 million.
The portfolio restructuring of our banks in Mali and Kenya, for over EUR 42 million, caused a substantial increase of close to EUR 70 million in our consolidated cost of risk.
As a result, the Group share of net income declined by 16.5% to EUR 68.9 million, or a Return on equity (ROE) of 11.8%.
In spite of this exceptional increase in the cost of risk impacting our profit, we distributed dividends to our shareholders to the tune of EUR 35 million, up 6% over the previous year.