By Chinwendu Obienyi
Despite the harsh operating environment, Sterling Bank Plc, said it reported a 20.2 per cent growth in its profits for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
The bank at its recently held Annual General Meeting (AGM) 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 per cent uptick in profit after tax (PAT) and a 4.8 percent increase in gross earnings respectively.
Commenting on the bank’s financial performance, chairman of the bank’s board, Asue Ighodalo said, the year 2021 was a year of recovery from the adverse economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and 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.
He also said that the pace of economic recovery exceeded expectations despite threats of a third wave and the emergence of variants of the COVID-19 virus, adding that this brought wind to the bank’s sail as it increased its 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 organization focused on delivering the best value to our stakeholders”, Ighodalo said
Reflecting on key drivers of the performance, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar Suleiman, said the year’s success was driven by a growth of 28.5 per cent in non-interest-income and a 51.4 per cent increase in transaction volumes processed – significant numbers that illustrate the effectiveness of the bank’s recent digitization efforts.
“Customer deposits grew by 21.7 per cent 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 per cent in 2020 to 0.7 per cent in 2021.”