BY Peter Egwuatu
First Bank of Nigeria Plc has recorded an impressive increase indeposit base of N1.45 trillion for the financial year ended December 31, 2010, representing a growth of 7.6 per cent or N0.11 trillion from N1.34 trillion recorded in the period ended December 2009.
It recorded a gross earnings of N230.6 billion for the 12 months ended 31 December 2010 as against N193.9 billion in the 9 months to December 2009.
Other performance indicators show a net operating income of N177.9 billion as against N128.0 billion in the 9 months to December 2009.
Profit before tax was N43.2 billion as against N13.3 billion; Profit after tax of N33.4 billion as against N4.9 billion in the 9 months to December 2009.
Total assets and contingents stood at N3.3 trillion, an increase of 5.8 per cent from N3.1 trillion recorded in December 2009.
The shareholders’ funds was N340.6 billion, an increase of 9.4 per cent from N311.3 billion as at 31 December 2009.
Commenting on the results, the Group Managing Director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, said “despite the challenging operating conditions that the Nigerian banking sector endured in 2010 the after effects of the financial crisis and continued net interest margin pressure, First Bank retained its market leading position. As a group, we continued to grow our loan book and delivered strong profitability, while retaining a robust capital position”.
He disclosed that the Bank had proactively taken the one per cent general provision charge (amounting to N11.4 billion) on its performing loan portfolio in spite of the waiver on the general loan loss provision for banks granted by the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board for the year ended 31 December, 2010 _ underscoring the bank’s return to a strong trajectory of profitability.
According to him, “ this strong performance, coupled with our commitment to intensify our efforts on the execution of our transformation agenda, positions the FirstBank Group quite well to deliver long_term profitable growth by building greater franchises and creating value for all our stakeholders. This way, we will defend and extend our affirmed leadership position and reinforce our aspiration to become the dominant financial services group in sub_Saharan Africa..”
Onasanya, however said, “ as a management team, we look forward to continuing to develop and deliver high quality services to our customers while using the opportunities in the market place to focus deeply on accelerated strategic organic growth locally to increase shareholder value.”