by OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
Sterling Bank Plc at the weekend released its first quarter results for March 31, 2017 with a double-digit growth in the top-line earnings and continuing improvement in the underlying core banking business.
The report showed that gross earnings grew by 12 per cent as the bank’s net interest margin improved to 8.2 per cent within the first three months.
The interim report, which was released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that gross earnings braced the economic recessionary trend to close March 2017 at N28.55 billion compared with N25.50 billion recorded in the comparable period of 2016. The top-line earnings performance was driven by 26.3 per cent increase in interest income and improved cost management, leaving net interest income higher by 18.3 per cent at N13.5 billion in first quarter 2017 as against N11.4 billion in first quarter 2016. Net interest margin, which measures the underlining profitability of the core banking business, thus improved marginally from 8.1 per cent in first quarter 2016 to 8.2 per cent in first quarter 2017.
The bank was able to reduce operating expenses through strategic cost control measures taken in response to inflationary pressures. Operating expenses declined from N12.6 billion in 2016 to N12.2 billion in first quarter 2017.
The balance sheet of the bank remained strong as total assets rose by 6.8 per cent to N891.3 billion by March 2017 compared with N834.2 billion recorded at the beginning of this business year. Shareholders’ funds also rode on the back off organic accretion of profit to close March 2017 at N87.5 billion.
Managing director, Sterling Bank, Mr. Yemi Adeola, said the first quarter 2017 performance was in line with expectations, as earnings remained resilient with a double-digit growth despite the macroeconomic headwinds that persisted during the period.