Johannesburg - Nedbank, the South African bank controlled by Old Mutual, said full-year profit rose 20 percent as it expanded consumer banking.

Net income climbed to 7.8 billion rand ($878 million) in 2012, from 6.5 billion rand in the previous year, the Johannesburg-based lender said in a statement today.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items climbed 21 percent to 16.46 rand, beating the median estimate for adjusted earnings of 16.12 rand a share by 17 analysts.

“This performance was achieved through strong revenue growth, an improved credit loss ratio and responsible expense management while strengthening the balance sheet and investing for growth,” Mike Brown, chief executive officer of the bank, said in the statement.

Nedbank created 450 new jobs and took on another 655,000 clients, he said.

Nedbank, South Africa’s fourth-largest lender by assets, has integrated its various private banking operations into one unit and launched mobile banking applications to attract customers.

It has also expanded outside of South Africa’s biggest cities to increase its share of the low-income market.

Nedbank increased its full year dividend per share more than 24 percent to 7.52 rand. - Bloomberg News