Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc. commended the Bank’s Board and Management for reporting a profitable performance for the year ended December 31, 2016, despite the harsh macro-economic environment that characterised the year under review. This took place at the Bank’s 55th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, and Lagos on Thursday May 11, 2017.
Dr Faruk Umar, President of the Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS) praised the Bank for being prudent and responsible, and also took the opportunity to offer his congratulations to the Bank for winning the Agric Bank of the Year Award from the Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA) recently. Umar who projected an even stronger performance by the Bank in 2017, equally commended the Chairman of the Bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo for his effective leadership.
Similarly, Mr. Sunny Nwosu, Founding National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), extolled the Management of the Bank for its positive and encouraging performance in 2016. Earlier in his address to shareholders at the AGM, Chairman of the Bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo reported that the Bank recorded a Profit after Tax of N5.2 billion on Goss Earnings of N111.4 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2016.
He further stated that Net Interest Income increased by 41.6 percent to N56.0 billion as against N39.5 billion in 2015, due to a 22.5 percent increase in Interest Income, while Operating Income was N68.3 billion. Operating Expenses increased marginally to N50.6 billion from N49.7 billion in 2015, despite inflationary pressures –a reflection of the effectiveness of the Bank’s strategic cost control measures.
Further analysis of the Bank’s financial position showed that Net Loans and Advances increased by 38.2 percent to N468.2 billion compared to N338.7 billion in 2015 driven primarily by foreign exchange revaluation. Total Assets (excluding contingent liabilities) increased by 4.3 percent to N834.2 billion from N799.5 billion in 2015 while Shareholders’ Funds stood at N85.7 billion.
In his remarks, Mr. Yemi Adeola, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Bank stated that, “2016 was a difficult year for the Nigerian economy as it was characterized by high inflation, weak oil prices, lower crude oil output and foreign exchange supply shortages. These multiple challenges and the various regulatory responses put significant downward pressure on the earnings of banks”.
“In the face of these difficulties, our Gross Earnings grew for the 6th consecutive year to N111.4 billion. We also maintained our commitment to operating efficiency, as highlighted by an improvement in Net Interest Margin to 9.3 percent and a 22.5 percent growth in Interest Income. In addition, we successfully limited the growth in Operating Expenses to 1.9 percent despite the high inflationary environment.”
On the outlook for the Bank under its 2017- 2021 Strategic Plan, Mr. Adeola stated, “we expect that the Federal Government’s fiscal intervention schemes alongside supportive economic policies will create pathways for economic recovery. Over the next 5 years, we will be steering our ship differently and aggressively growing the retail business through electronic channels.”
He also pledged that the Bank would continue to boost innovative banking driven by market insights that would enable it serve its customerssatisfactorily, implement significant investment in technology-led growth initiatives and acceleratethe growth of its Non-interest Banking segment.