Sterling Bank Plc has reported a profit after tax of N8.5 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2 billion for the corresponding period of 2016, representing an increase of 65percent in profitability.
Other performance indicators showed that gross earnings increased by 19.8percent to N133.5billion against N111.4billion in the corresponding period of 2016.
This remarkable performance was driven by growth in both interest and non-interest income by 11.3percent and 87.8percent respectively. The bank’s net operating income rose by 7.9percent, while cost-to-income ratio improved by 260 basis points to 71.5percent. Customer deposits increased by 17.1percent to N684.8billion, as against N584.7billion recorded in 2016. Overall, shareholders’ funds grew by 20.2% to N102.9 billion as against N85.7 billion in 2016, reaffirming the bank’s commitment to returning value to its shareholders.
Commenting on the result, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc said, “Our 2017 result highlights positive performance across key financial indices despite challenging operating conditions, reaffirming our underlying institutional strength. The non-interest banking business continued to gain significant traction, adding positively to our bottom-line. This performance underscores the commitment of the entire team to our corporate goals and the resilience of our business model.”
Suleiman disclosed that the bank maintained a disciplined and prudent approach to loan growth in line with its risk management framework, a development which resulted in a significant improvement in asset quality as reflected in the reduction of non-performing loan ratio by 370 basis points to 6.2percent.
He added: “Sterling Bank continued to scale its business with support from a well-diversified funding base. For the first time, we recorded N1.1 trillion in total assets from N834.2 billion in 2016 representing a 28.7percent growth. We also gained traction in our retail drive with an active customer base that exceeded three million resulting in 17.1percent growth in deposits.”
During the year, the bank’s liquidity and capital adequacy ratios remained sound and well above the required regulatory benchmark at 33percent and 12.2percent respectively. The bank prioritised efficiency across its businesses as it progressed on its digital transformation journey by successfully launching “Specta”, an innovative online lending platform which offers personal loans within five minutes. It also invested in a first-rate business process management tool to optimize operating efficiency while providing its customers with ‘best in class’ service.
Affirming the bank’s 2017-21 strategic plan, Suleiman Abubakar said, “In 2018, we will continue to execute our plans to drive efficiency across the business under the three pillars of agility, digitization and specialization. These pillars will propel us toward sustainable growth by enhancing our ability to innovate; solidify our retail funding base; strengthen our enterprise-wide risk management framework and drive excellent service delivery across all channels to enhance customer experience.”