By Afolabi Adesola
Sterling Bank Plc has reported a profit after tax of N3.1 billion on gross earnings of N39.8 billion for the first quarter ended 31st March 2018. The impressive first quarter net income is an improvement on net income of N1.9 billion for the corresponding period of 2017, representing an increase of 65.2 per cent.
A further review of the financial performance indicates that net loans and advances increased by two percent to N609.8 billion, customer deposits rose by 4.9 per cent to N718.5 billion, while total assets (excluding contingent liabilities) were relatively flat at N1.05 trillion.
Commenting on the financial performance, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank said, “We are pleased to be starting 2018 on a good note, by sustaining the strong performance delivered in 2017 with growth across key financial indices. This demonstrates strength and is indicative of our outlook for the financial year.”
Remarkably, the bank’s gross earnings grew by 39.3 per cent to N39.8 billion from N28.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017, with the Improvement in earnings directly linked to measured growth in retail lending as well as a 90 per cent increase in transaction banking revenues.
“Our net operating income also grew by 34.2 per cent, aided by a 50 per cent reduction in impairment charges. We continued to experience a significant improvement in asset quality as cost of risk declined by 140 basis points to 0.8 per cent from 2.2 per cent in 2017. Overall, Profit after Tax (PAT) rose by 65.2 per cent to N3.1billion resulting in a 410 basis point increase in Return on Average Equity to 12.8 per cent,” Mr. Suleiman further stated.
He added that Sterling Bank is actively mobilising private sector capital to solve some of the most pressing social and economic needs of Nigerians. “We have aligned the bank’s business model to offer financial and non-financial solutions to key areas which are at the HEART of Sterling Bank – Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation.”
In the period under review, the bank successfully launched Farepay, a contactless payment system as part of its transport sector intervention in Lagos State. The payment system which is ensuring efficient fare collections will plug pilferage and revenue leakage making it possible for the sector to attract the much-needed capital investment required to transform it. Sterling Bank’s goal is to replicate this nationwide as it remains resolute in its conviction that the transport sector is an important catalyst for socio-economic growth and sustainable development.