Sterling Bank Plc, a full-service national bank, has reported a net interest income growth of 19.1 per cent to N30.4 billion for the half year ended June 30, 2019 as against N25.5 billion for the corresponding period of 2018.
Overall, the bank recorded a 5.5 per cent improvement in operating income and a profit after tax of N5.66 billion.
Commenting on the financial performance, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, said: “Underlying our half year performance was a concerted effort in improving the quality of our funding base, increasingly through digital products and initiatives.
“Though top line earnings were impacted by a selective approach to lending, the bank remained focused on building a sustainable business model and continued to see considerable improvement across business lines, particularly our retail and consumer and digital and transactional banking businesses.”
Other financial highlights showed that customer deposit also grew to N818.6 billion during the period under review, compared to N760.6 billion in 2018, indicating a growth of 7.6 per cent.
Total assets grew by 4.8 per cent to N1.156 billion against N1.102 billion in 2018 while net operating income also rose by 4.2 per cent to N40.4 billion compared with N38.8 per cent in 2018.
Reflecting on the financial performance highlights, Suleiman disclosed that the bank managed to achieve a 14 per cent decline in interest expense in line with the bank’s strategic objectives, resulting in a 170 basis points drop in cost of funds and, consequently, a 131 basis points increase in net interest margin.
The bank achieved 14.5 per cent growth in low cost funds, delivering a 7.6 per cent growth in customer deposits while net operating income grew by 4.3 per cent.
Personnel costs rose by 14 per cent in line with the bank’s commitment to intensify strategy execution, as operating expense grew by 6.1 per cent while a continuous growth in retained earnings delivered a 12.7 per cent increase in shareholders’ funds to N110.1 billion.
Overall, the bank grew its balance sheet by five per cent to N1.15 trillion and delivered a profit after tax of N5.66 billion in the first half of the year.
During the period under review, the bank won ‘Best in Leadership’, ‘Best Workplace for the Millennial Generation’ and ‘3rd Best place to work in Africa’ at the 6th Edition of Great Place to Work Institute Awards. It also emerged the most Innovative Bank of the Year Award at the 2019 edition of the Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS).