Sterling Bank Rides on Digitisation as H1 PAT Hits N5.4bn

Sterling Bank Plc says digitisation of its operations deployment of e-banking capabilities has impacted positively on its just released half-year (H1) financial period ended June 30, 2020.
The Bank’s results released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that the net interest income for the period under review stood at N33.5 billion, as against N30.4 billion during the corresponding period of 2019.
Also, the bank’s total assets also rose by 9.4 percent to N1.294 trillion during the review period from N1.183 trillion billion in 2019 while customer deposits inched up by 2.5 percent to N915.2 billion in 2020 from N892.7 billion in 2019.  
The lender closed the half-year with a trading income of N3.9 billion as against N1.2 billion for the corresponding period of 2019, representing a remarkable increase of 242.8 percent.  
Speaking on the financial performance, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman said that “Our impressive half-year performance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic disruption belies the rough seas ahead. 
“In the second quarter of the reporting period, we focused on empowering our stakeholders to respond to the unprecedented disruption occasioned by prolonged restriction to movement while supporting them to adapt to new ways of banking.”  
According to Suleiman, our commitment to digitisation was validated as we continued to serve existing and new customers through our mobile and digital platforms. We also responded to the uncertainty by doubling down on cost optimisation while leveraging our existing remote work policy to keep our workforce productive without risking COVID-19 infection. Notwithstanding rising inflation, we were able to moderate operating expenses during H1 2020 to deliver a net profit comparable to the first half of 2019. 
The CEO noted that overall the bank delivered a profit after tax of N5.4 billion on gross earnings of N70.2 billion in the first half of 2020 compared with a PAT of N5.7 billion on gross earnings of N72.3 billion during the corresponding period of 2019.  
Suleiman noted that although interest income declined by 4.3 percent, this was offset by an 18.1 decline in interest expense, thereby delivering a 130 basis points drop in cost of funds and consequently, a 60 basis points reduction in net interest margin.  
He said, “In terms of asset quality, non-performing loan (NPL) ratio was flat at 2.1 percent while cost of risk went up by to 2.1 percent and operating expenses declined by 0.1 percent, achieved by moderating administrative expenses despite growth in other operating expenses including AMCON and insurance fees. The bank was able to maintain a strong capital and liquidity position of 15.2 percent and 33.5 percent respectively above the regulatory benchmark.”  

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