By Kayode Tokede
Access Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and four other big banks in Nigeria reported N235.4billion profit in first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2021. This is an increase of 6.03 per cent from N222.02billion reported in Q1 2020.
The other four banks are Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank), FBN Holdings, ETI and Zenith Bank Plc.
Our correspondent gathered that GTBank and FBN Holdings Plc are the two banks with decline in profit while Access Bank, UBA and ETI reported double-digit growth in profit.
In the period under review, Access bank reported 28.4 per cent increase in profit to N52.54billion in Q1 2021 from N40.93billion reported in Q1 2020.
The Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said the bank delivered strong results in the first quarter in spite of the challenging macroeconomic and regulatory environment.
“In furtherance of our vision to be the world’s most respected African bank and Africa’s payment gateway, we remain committed to a disciplined and thoughtful expansion strategy.
“Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, we will focus on key markets to drive outside Africa and intra-Africa trade.
“In alignment with our objectives, we recently announced our intention to acquire a majority shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Ltd to further strengthen our Southern African footprint.
“Looking at the quarters ahead, we are poised for strong earnings growth fueled by our retail momentum, robust balance sheet, and operational efficiency.
“Finally, I will like to thank our people, shareholders, and other stakeholders as we cannot have achieved these results without their dedication, commitment, and support,” he added.
UBA’s grew profit to N38.2billion in Q1 2021, 26.8 per cent from N30.1billion reported in Q1 2020.
The Group Managing Director/CEO of the UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, expressed satisfaction with the Bank’s performance in the Q1 2021, stating that the result reflects UBA’s capacity to sustainably grow earnings even in a highly uncertain macroeconomic environment.
He added that the robust capital and liquidity positions have positioned the bank as it continues to support its customers across diverse sectors and markets, guided by prudent risk management practices.
“This impressive 2021Q1 results reflect the capacity of our business to sustainably grow earnings even in a highly uncertain macroeconomic environment.
“We remain upbeat on the macroeconomic outlook of the countries in which we operate, especially as the COVID-19 vaccine distribution gains traction globally, whilst commodity prices and currencies continue to stabilise.
“Our robust capital and liquidity positions have positioned us to continue to support our customers across diverse sectors and markets, guided by prudent risk management practices.”
Uzoka pointed out the bank’s effort towards diligently executing its priorities for the year 2021, as it leverages people, process, and technology to deliver the best customer experience across all its channels and touchpoints, achieving industry leadership and dominance.
He added that, “The bank is making strong progress in Nigeria where our continuous market share and efficiency gains are translating into higher profits. We are committed to sustaining this strong start throughout the year, leveraging our customer-First (C-1st) philosophy and unparalleled execution to deliver even stronger returns to our esteemed shareholders in 2021 and beyond,” Uzoka said.
In the period under review, ETI reported 23.48 per cent increase in profit to N30.49billion from N24.69billion reported in prior quarter results.
Zenith Bank, however, reported 5.02 per cent growth in profit to N53.06billion in Q1 2021 from N50.53billion reported in 2020.
The bank in a statement stated that, “Going into 2021, the expectation is that the ongoing economic recovery and improvements in the yield environment will translate into improved numbers for the Group. This will be supported by local and international COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, rising commodity prices, and global economic growth of up to 6%, as estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“The Group will continue to position itself to take advantage of these positive developments and deliver improved financial performance and returns to all its stakeholders.”
In addition, GTBank’s profit dropped by 9.03 per cent to N45.55billion in Q1 2021 from N50.07billion reported in Q1 2020, while FBN Holdings with 39.3 per cent to N15.6billion in Q1 2021 from N25.70billion reported in 2020 reported the highest decline of the six banks.
The Group Managing Director, FBN Holdigns U.K. Eke, in a statement said, “Increasingly we continue to reap the benefits of diversifying our income stream by boosting non-interest income through a transaction-led banking model. This supported operating income in the face of a declining interest rate environment and challenging macro-economic environment.
More importantly, this new model offers us the ability to meet the needs of our customers through technology, digitisation, and innovation.
Furthermore, our Agent Banking platform continues to lead the market, and rapidly expanding our footprints, and offering the opportunity to introduce new products and services whilst supporting the growth of our noninterest income.
“As we journey on, we will be seeking options to optimise the assets in the Group through specific strategic initiatives towards improving revenue generation, accelerating customer-led innovation to deepen market penetration and reconfiguring our technological architecture to drive service delivery, and reduce the cost to serve.
“That said, our two-pronged approach to value maximization is focused on optimising the existing portfolio of investments and evaluating options to support our vision of remaining dominant in the financial services industry in Africa.”