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Explainers - May 16, 2018

Sterling Bank’s growth excites investors

Following the release of two consecutive earnings results for the full year 2017 and Q1 2018, investors in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have expressed their satisfaction with Sterling Bank Plc. This renewed investor’s confidence has seen the bank’s stock recording over 52 per cent year-to-date price gain.

Remarkably, the bank reported a profit after tax of N8.5bn for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2bn in 2016, representing an increase of 65 per cent in profitability. Gross earnings increased by 19.8 per cent to N133.5bn in 2017 compared to N111.4bn in 2016. Sustaining the impressive performance, Sterling Bank reported a profit growth of 65.2 per cent for the first quarter ended 31st March 2018.

The Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman, affirmed the bank’s continued growth across key financial indices while addressing stockbrokers, investment analysts and the media during the bank’s Facts Behind the Figures session at the NSE in Lagos.

The lender’s 2017-2021 mid-term strategy indicates the intent to grow market share of deposits to 5%, diversify its retail funding base, record non-performing loans below its peer group average as well as Return on Average Equity (ROAE) above peer group average.

Suleiman disclosed that the bank is also looking to achieve diversified income streams with top quartile position in all its operating areas, double digit revenue growth on yearly basis and reduce cost of funds to less than five percent.

On the bank’s long-term strategy, the CEO disclosed that Sterling Bank intends to become a globally competitive financial services franchise by financial and non-financial measures; adding that it would continue to operate a fully sustainable business model with institutionalized processes that would outlive the stewardship of current owners and managers.

He also reiterated the bank’s commitment to its primary role of financial intermediation through intervention in sectors that will create jobs, improve living standard and bring about economic growth for the country. Abubakar Suleiman identified the priority sectors as Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable energy and Transportation.

Speaking on the bank’s strategic initiatives, the Executive Director, Operations and Services, Yemi Odubiyi, said Sterling Bank would manage risk, balance sheet and capital to deliver superior returns to shareholders; create a learning organisation to optimise productivity as well as operations and technology to drive better control, manage costs, complexity and risk.  He said all these would enable the bank to deliver excellent customer service and drive efficiency and sales through robust digital and payments capability.

According to Odubiyi, Sterling Bank intends to become a consumer banking franchise of choice for Nigerians through the provision of customer-centric and disruptive solutions such as Farepay, Specta, Switch, Snapcash, Social Lender, Saf Retail and i-invest, among other products that are changing the ways they access financial services.

He said the bank of the future must understand the consumer of the future and address their needs, adding that the bank will adopt agile methodology and journey thinking to improve speed to market and the customer’s experience.

Analysts and stockbrokers at the Facts Behind the Figures session were unanimous in their verdict that the bank’s coherent strategy, business transformation initiatives, strong management team, and disruptive solutions will lead to better than expected future results for the mid-sized lender.

In his closing remarks, Doyen of Stockbrokers in Nigeria, Willie Sam Ndata lauded Sterling Bank for explaining the facts behind the figures in its financial statements with the stakeholders in capital market. “The CEO of Sterling Bank has spoken to the numbers and we are hopeful that he will continue to provide the market with useful information. The solutions you have highlighted explains the increased customer growth recorded by bank. We are sure the bank will deliver value to all stakeholders going forward.”

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