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Business News of Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Source: The Nation

Sterling Bank grows profit to N12.4b

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Sterling Bank Plc witnessed double-digit growth in its bottom-line in 2020 with a 15.9 per cent growth in pre-tax profit to N12.4 billion, despite the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2020, showed that pre-tax profit rose from N10.7 billion in 2019 to N12.4 billion in 2020.

Gross earnings stood at N138.9 billion in 2020 as against N150.2 billion in 2019. In response to the pandemic and expected credit losses, Sterling Bank proactively increased the cost of risk by 10 basis points to 1.0 per cent while moderating the non-performing loan ratio downwards by 30 basis points to 1.9 per cent.

Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman said  2020 was an extraordinary year defined by the global pandemic that disrupted society and severely impacted economic activities.

He, however, noted that the bank, during the year, channelled its resources towards empowering stakeholders to respond to the unprecedented disruption while supporting them to adapt to new banking methods through novel platforms like OneBank and Pay with Specta.

According to him, reflecting market dynamics influenced by the pandemic, Sterling Bank’s NIBSS instant payments and transaction volume grew by 89.4 per cent compared to the previous year on the back of investments in digital platforms.

As a result, the bank achieved a 6.0 per cent growth in profit after taxes to reach N11.2 billion, a development that underpins a 13.5 per cent growth in shareholders’ funds in a pandemic year.

He explained that the bank’s gross earnings were moderated by a 12.4 per cent decline in interest income as yields trended low but interest expense also declined by 21.3 per cent, resulting in a 160 basis points drop in the cost of funds; driven by a 39.5 per cent growth in low-cost customer deposits.

He added that the bank also ensured that the cost-to-income ratio declined to 77.4 per cent as it recorded a 2.5 per cent drop in operating expenses despite rising inflationary pressures.

“Remarkably, Sterling Bank spearheaded efforts to contain the pandemic by encouraging innovation to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. The bank also supported health care workers on the frontline. In the wake of the pandemic, Sterling Bank focused on retooling its employees to perform optimally while enabling a safe and conducive environment.

"For its agility and responsiveness, the bank capped the year with the ‘Overall Best Workplace in Nigeria’ in the large corporate category of the Great Place to Work Institute, a testament to the effectiveness of its employee welfare initiatives,” Suleiman said.

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