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Zenith Bank,12 Others Record N707bn Net Profit

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Thirteen banks listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have made a combined net profit of N707 billion in the first nine months of 2019.

The banks are Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Access Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), FBN Holdings, Fidelity Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), Wema Bank, Unity Bank and Jaiz Bank. However, Stanbic IBTC Holdings and Sterling Bank, which also recorded impressive net profits, had a decline in their profit-after-tax.

LEADERSHIP learnt that despite macroeconomic challenges, the 13 banks’ net profit went up 11.33 per cent from a combined profit-after-tax of N635.116 billion in the first nine months of 2018 to N707.04 billion in the third quarter, which ended on September 30, 2019.

A review of their profitability during the period under consideration showed that Jaiz Bank and Unity Bank posted a three digit growth of 673.21 per cent and 147 per cent to N1.25 billion cent and N1.48 billion from N161.69 million and N601 million, respectively.

Zenith Bank profit-after-tax grew by 4.54 per cent to N150.72 billion as against N144.179 billion, while GTB net profit stood at N146.99 billion above the N142.22 billion achieved in 2018.

Access Bank, UBA, ETI, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, FBN Holdings, Fidelity Bank, UBN, Sterling Bank, and Wema Bank posted a net profit of N90.74 billion, N81.63 billion, N78.84 billion, N55.55 billion, N51.75 billion, N21.46 billion, N14.96 billion, N7.58 billion, and N4.09 billion, respectively.

Commenting on the results, the group managing director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said that the bank’s focus on retail market gained momentum and would be sustained going forward.

“The strong retail contribution demonstrates the effectiveness of our continued drive around low-cost deposits, on the back of an innovative digital platform. Asset quality improved as guided, to 6.4 per cent on the back of a robust risk management approach.

“This is expected to trend into the future as we strive to hit and surpass the standard we had built in the industry prior to the merger. Similarly, liquidity ratio improved year-on-year to 49.7 per cent, reflecting deliberate steps to optimise our balance sheet in order to ensure that the group’s liquidity position remains robust,” Wigwe said.

Also, the managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said that the bank is looking forward to sustaining the momentum in Q4 2019 and achieving its targets for the 2019 financial year.

According to him, retail banking continued to deliver impressive results as savings deposits increased by 9.2 per cent to N248.9 billion, adding that the bank is on course to achieving the sixth consecutive year of double-digit savings growth.

“Savings deposits now accounts for about 22.3 per cent of total deposits, an attestation to our increasing market share in the retail segment. The growth in deposits is further complemented by its digital banking push which has resulted in having over 46.4 per cent of its customers enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and recording over 82 per cent of total transactions on digital platforms.

“Digital banking continued to gain traction driven by the bank’s new initiatives in the retail lending and increased cross-selling of our digital banking products,” he added.

The group managing director of First Bank, Urum Eke, said that “our performance in the third quarter reflects the growth trajectory over the first nine months of the year, with significant strides made in transforming the group’s asset quality and diversifying our revenue streams across the board.”

Meanwhile, analysts have noted that gross earnings for most of the banks were flat in nine months in 2019 compared to the same period of 2018, but total income growth showed marked disparity amongst the banks.

They are of the view that the performance of banks in Nigeria during the period was mixed and a representation of the variations in the dynamics of bank business models and legacy challenges in some cases.

They remained optimistic that the banks will weather the stormy headwinds but some will, obviously, do it more comfortably than others.

Looking towards Q4 2019, they stated that the outcome for selected banks may not be entirely different from their first nine months’ performance.

The chief operating officer of InvestData Consulting Limited, Ambrose Omordion, said that despite an unpredictable environment throughout the quarter, the listed banks continue to deliver on their strategy of improved profitability and improving shareholder returns through consistent and client-led growth.

Omordion said that the banks’ earnings indicated that customer deposits improved modestly, loan growth remained modest, interest income came in weaker while net interest margin contracted.

He said that profitability was up in some banks while credit quality improved for the tier-one banks with tier-two players struggling with high NPLs.

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