By Kayode Tokede
A cumulative of four Domestic Systematic Important Bank (D-SIB) of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank), Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) and Access Bank Plc have announced N137.6 billion profit in the first three months of 2018.
The four banks growth in profit is on the heels of improved gross earnings and reduction in loan impairment charges, though battling with growth in operating expenses.
Banks operating in the country in the first three months have benefited from stability and liquidity in the foreign exchange market, declining inflation rate and firm crude oil prices that supported economic growth and federal government spending.
The four Tier-One banks listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last year reported N123.7 billion profit in the first three months of 2017.
Zenith Bank reported a double digit growth in profit to N47.1 billion, 25.5 per cent increase over N37.5 billion reported in first three months of 2017.
The management of Zenith Bank Group stated, “The first months of 2018 was a continuation of the strong financial performance we delivered last year as our business demonstrated growth across key metrics.
“In the period, we delivered Gross earnings of N169 billion representing a growth of 14.5 per cent compared to the same period last year which was led by a 20.8 per cent upswing in interest income.
“Our asset mix continues to do well, driven by interest earned on government securities and our corporate business. This growth in interest income translated into an improved Profit before Tax (PBT) growth of 22.2per cent and a Profit after Tax (PAT) increase of 25.5per cent compared to March 2017, at N54 billion and N47 billion respectively.”
“The macro-environment continues to improve and we remain optimistic about the stability and liquidity in the foreign exchange market, declining inflation rate and firm crude oil prices to support economic growth.
“We aim to strategically explore all available opportunities to expand our customer base and businesses while consolidating on our industry position.”
GTBank’s profit thus rose by 7.7 per cent to N44.67 billion in first three months of 2018 from N41.5 billion in first three months of 2017 while UBA gained 6.2 per cent increase in profit to N23.7 billion from N22.35 billion reported in first three months of 2017.
Meanwhile, Access Bank reported a decline of 1.29 per cent to N22.1 billion in three months of 2018 from N22.41 billion in three months of 2017.
The Group Managing Director/ CEO, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe in a statement said, “Although economic uncertainties’ and changing regulation present challenges. I believe that we have the right strategy to build upon our current momentum and emerge as a leading institution. Indeed, the year ahead presents a defining opportunity for us to break new grounds and move closer to our goal of becoming the world’s most respected African Bank.
“Though we have made significant progress in delivering on our growth objectives, more work lies ahead to ensure that we are all positioned for longer-term value creation.
“This year, we will place greater emphasize on growing our retail franchise, cost discipline and proactive risk management as key driven for enhanced bottom-line growth.
He said further that “The strategies laid out for 2018 and beyond, will also see a combined focused on leveraging our enlarged corporate and retail customers base and our balance sheet a lot more efficiently to attain our objectives.”