Sterling Bank maintains growth trajectory with 20% increase in net profit

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By Philemon Adedeji

Sterling Bank Plc, a full service national commercial bank, has reported a 20.2 percent growth in its profits for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.

The bank, at its recently held annual general meeting in Lagos, reported a net profit of N13.5 billion on gross earnings of N142.3 billion compared to  a net profit of N11.2 billion on gross earnings of N135.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. These figures represent a 20.2 percent uptick in profit after tax, and a 4.8 percent increase in gross earnings respectively.

Commenting on the bank’s financial performance, chairman of the bank’s board, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said, “For us and for the nation at large, 2021 was a year of recovery from the adverse economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” he added that,

“Breakthroughs in the development of vaccines for the virus, along with the campaigns to inoculate the global population gained ground and bolstered consumer and investor confidence globally and locally. The pace of economic recovery exceeded expectations despite threats of a third wave and the emergence of variants of the virus. This brought wind to our sails as we navigated the Bank to increase her profitability and growth.

“During the period, we were consistent with our strategy to drive financial intermediation in high impact sectors that aligned with our HEART strategy. This enabled us to focus and deliver innovative solutions that enabled our customers to thrive in a dynamic environment. We are unwavering in our commitment to build a forward-thinking organisation focused on delivering the best value to our stakeholders.”

Reflecting on key drivers of the performance, Sterling’s Chief Executive, Abubakar Suleiman, noted that the year’s success was driven by a growth of 28.5 percent in non-interest-income and a 51.4 percent increase in transaction volumes processed – significant numbers that illustrate the effectiveness of the Bank’s recent digitization efforts.

Customer deposits grew by 21.7 percent from the previous year’s numbers, with an improvement in cost-to-income ratios, despite an increase in operating expenses brought about by foreign exchange inflationary pressures.

“We will continue to focus on our HEART strategy, optimize our expenses and lending while strengthening our risk management and recovery practices. These have remarkably improved our exposure with non-performing loans dropping from 1.9 percent in 2020 to 0.7 percent in 2021. Put together, these have enabled us increase shareholder funds by 4.2%,” Suleiman noted.

On other non-financial highlights, Sterling Bank was awarded the 2021 People First Organisation by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) and continued to push the edge with innovative solutions like PayWithSpecta delivered to drive small-business productivity and real-sector growth. The bank also commenced on the largest commercial property solar project in Africa with the remodeling of her Marina headquarters with building installed photovoltaic (BIPV) panels. This will power Sterling’s head office with solar energy and make Sterling Towers the first building in Africa to achieve the feat.

Sterling Bank Plc is a leading national commercial banking establishment in Nigeria. It commenced operations as NAL Bank in 1960. Presently, with total assets of N1.629 trillion, 141 business offices and 700 ATMs nationwide, the bank has grown into a major financial institution.

It is engaged in commercial banking services with emphasis on retail, commercial and corporate banking, trade services, investment banking activities and non-interest banking. It also provides wholesale banking services, including  granting of loans and advances; letter of credit transactions, money market operations, electronic banking products and other banking activities.