STANDARD Bank’s expense growth was higher than its income growth in the four months to end-April, it said in a statement ahead of its annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday.

“Management remains focused on delivering return on equity in the medium term target range of 15% to 18%,” the statement quoted joint CEOs Sim Tshabalala and Ben Kruger as saying.

“The economic conditions in SA, and across a number of the African countries in which the group operates, remain challenging.

“Despite this, group income growth has been good, supported by strong growth in net interest income. As expected, the group has seen some strain in the associated credit environments resulting in an increase in the group’s credit impairment charges,” the statement said.