Oceanic Bank International Plc has reported a significant growth in performance measurement indicators as it rounded off the 2008 financial year ending December 2008 with N188.22bn gross earnings, thus confirming its leading position in the finance industry.
The bank also announced a bonus of one for ten to reward its shareholders.
According to the bankâ€™s result released in Lagos, the gross earnings figure represents a 151 per cent growth or N113.28bn over N74.94bn posted at the preceding full financial year.
Analysis of the Bankâ€™s financial report for the period under consideration indica-ted that Oceanic Bank significantly increased its market share as it garnered N835.21bn in deposits com-pared to N693.93bn in 2007.
According to the Bankâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. (Mrs.) Cecilia Ibru, the significant increase in deposit base is traceable to several strategies put in place to attract the huge pool of funds lying idle in the informal sectors of the economy as well as the new drive to extend the bankâ€™s coverage of the unbanked segment of the population.
Explaining the expansion of the branch network, she said the bankâ€™s business offices increased significantly to 435 as against 320 in the preceding year, with the bank also having presence across Africa (Sao Tome, Gambia, Cameroun), and also in Asia, Europe and US.
Part of the strategies adopted to rake in deposits, she stated, included a special savings deposit mobilisation strategy and promotion in which existing and new account holders were encouraged to save and were rewarded for maintaining specified levels of deposits.
The results also showed that the asset base was equally on the upward swing hitting N1.25trn mark com-pared to N1.04trn recorded at the end of the 2007 financial year.
Dr. Ibru, while appraising the performance said the bank has again shown its resilience in overcoming difficult operating environment as it recorded a good performance despite the harsh economic situation occasioned by the global financial meltdown.
She stated that the bankâ€™s profit before tax and provisioning to rise to N53.21bn was an indication that Oceanic Bank is very profitable even in the midst of world economic downturn.
The bankâ€™s Chief Executive stated that the provisioning was done in line with the bankâ€™s policy of total disclosure. She therefore expressed the optimism that a large chunk of the provision will be recovered by the bank as a separate and more effective debt recovery unit has been established by the bank.
According to her: â€œThe bank has made concerted efforts to reinforce its risk management capabilities, including the recruitment of skilled risk management practitioners to bolster our team, and increased focus on training, a scaling down of our balance sheet and a reduction in concentration risks. Through the remainder of this year, the bank intends to maximize the recoverability of loans and has expanded its Remedial and Recovery units to that end.â€
The bank is giving a bonus of one share for 10 existing one, with Ibru saying that the bank decided to give a bonus issue as a mark of appreciation and in the tradition of the bankâ€™s way of bonding with its shareholders and co-creating value with them.
She assured that the bank, in the current financial year, will make the shareholders happy with bumper returns on their investment.
Assuring investors of a better tomorrow, she said: â€œWe are confident that 2009 will be a good year for trading as we continue to handle the cash and working capital management needs of our large corporate clients.
â€œWe also intend to be an active participant in syndi-cated loan transactions and new corporate bond issues. Ultimately, our shareholders will be better for it as bumper returns await them.â€
On the success of the bankâ€™s financials, Ibru attributed it to the bankâ€™s solid management, continuous quest for innovations and human capital development. These, she said, are geared towards value-added customer service delivery.
The bankâ€™s achievements so far, according to her, was also as a result of thorough training and refresher courses organized for the staff and more importantly to the strict adherence of all the management and staff to the bankâ€™s core values, tagged: TEAMS, an acronym of Transparency, Equal Opportunity, Accountability, Merit and Service Excellence.