By Peter Egwuatu
Sterling Bank Plc has reported a net operating income of N18.779 billion during its first quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared with N18.565 billion during the corresponding period of 2019, representing an increase of 1.2 percent.
This was disclosed in the bank’s condensed unaudited group interim financial statement released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE .
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, explained that the bank’s net trading income grew remarkably to N984 million as against N435 million during the corresponding period, representing an increase of 126.2 percent, despite a very challenging macro-economic environment.
Overall, the Bank recorded gross earnings and profit after tax of N32.9 billion and N2.065 billion respectively for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.
The bank’s marginal drop in net profit was attributed to a combination of a decline in fees and commission income following the downward review of transactional charges and a slight increase in total expenses which rose from N15.3 billion in 2019 to N16.6 billion in 2020.
The increase was driven mainly by other operating expenses and depreciation and amortization costs. Income tax expense also went up from N33 million in 2019 to N154 million in 2020.
However, the bank was able to reduce its non-performing loans from 2.2 percent to two percent during the review period.
The CEO added that the bank’s deposit base rose to N898.576 billion in the first quarter of 2020 from N892.660 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, loans and advances up to N627.122 billion from N618.732 while total assets rose to N1.231 trillion from N1.182 trillion, representing a growth of 4.1 percent.
Also, during the review period, the bank managed to reduce cost of funds further by 18.4% on the back of growth in low cost deposits, resulting in a growth in net interest income to N15.449 billion.
Sterling Bank has an authorised share capital of N16 billion, made up of 32 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of which N14.395 had been issued and fully paid-up and a share premium of N42.8 billion.