South African lender Standard Bank has reported a profit of ZAR22bn ($1.4bn) for the year ended 31 December 2015, a 27% increase from ZAR17.32bn ($1.1bn) in the prior year.

Headline EPS earnings per share increased to 1359 cents from 1070 cents a year ago.

Dividend increased 13% year-on-year to 674 cents per share from 598 cents per share, the bank said in its earnings statement.

Cost-to-income ratio increased to 56.7% in 2015 from 55% in 2014.

The bank’s Personal & Business Banking (PBB) unit has posted headline earnings of ZAR11.23bn, a rise of 15% compared to a year ago.

The division’s credit impairment charges dropped by 5% while operating expenses soared by 10%.

Standard Bank group CEO Sim Tshabalala said: "The year ahead is likely to provide a demanding operating environment in which consumers and businesses will have to adapt to higher interest rates and the full effect of currency weakness. The group’s strategic market positioning, well-capitalised and liquid balance sheet, and committed employees are able to withstand uncertain macro developments and volatile markets for the sustained benefit of our customers.

"Our medium-term ROE target of between 15% and 18% remains intact. The group’s ROE performance will however be affected by factors such as economic growth in South Africa and the rest of Africa, and the retention of a South African investment grade sovereign credit rating."