Glowing commendations from shareholders trailed the improved performance of Sterling Bank Plc at its 56th Annual General Meeting in Lagos, Nigeria.
This upholds the remarkable vote of confidence previously echoed by stockbrokers and analysts during its Facts Behind the Figures presentation at the Nigerian Stock Exchange last week.
Equally, the lender’s stockholders were delighted by the 20.2 per cent rise in shareholders’ funds from N85.7bn in 2016 to N102.9bn in 2017, and the declaration of 2 kobo dividend per ordinary share of 50 kobo.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. Mathew Akinlade, President, Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association, commended the Board and Executive Management of Sterling Bank for its orderly leadership transition, digitisation, improved shareholders’ value, increased customer deposit and a strong performance in a fragile financial year in which the economy only started recording growth in its second quarter after a severe 15 months recession.
According to Akinlade, the bank’s performance is very encouraging; which makes it easy for shareholders to unanimously support the mid and long-term management strategies put in place by the Board and Management. He advised the leadership of the bank to deliver on strategy to make Sterling a bank of the future and market leader in the areas of health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.
Sterling Bank reported a profit after tax of N8.5bn for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2bn for the corresponding period of 2016, representing an increase of 65 per cent in profitability. The bank’s gross earnings also increased by 19.8 per cent to N133.5bn against N111.4bn in the corresponding period of 2016. This remarkable performance was driven by growth in both interest and non-interest income by 11.3 per cent and 87.8 per cent, respectively.
Earlier in his address, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Chairman, Sterling Bank Plc, told shareholders that the bank will continue to navigate its growth by innovative means. “As a business, we will continue to innovate with focus on key growth sectors of the Nigerian economy that will enrich lives and grow the bottom-line. We will also continue to leverage on our areas of strength to drive sustainable growth and deliver superior returns to our esteemed shareholders,” he disclosed.
Ighodalo assured shareholders of the bank’s commitment to delivering tailor-made solutions in line with the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and Central Bank of Nigeria’s Sustainable Banking Principle. “As a matter of necessity, we remain committed to delivering solutions that satisfy stakeholders’ needs and objectives while also providing adequate financial returns to shareholders.”
The Chairman expressed appreciation to the board, management, shareholders and Mr. Yemi Adeola, who retired in April as Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank for the hard work, commitment and support. Mr. Ighodalo attributed the bank’s improved performance to shared purpose across board by all stakeholders.
Also speaking at the AGM, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar Suleiman, explained that the bank’s 2017 financial year performance highlights its underlying institutional strength despite delicate operating conditions. “We will continue to execute the plans to drive efficiency across the business under the three pillars of agility, digitization and specialization in the new financial year. These pillars will propel us toward sustainable growth by enhancing our ability to innovate; solidify our retail funding base; strengthen our enterprise-wide risk management framework and drive excellent service delivery across all channels to enhance customer experience,” he disclosed.
The CEO added that the bank He he made major investments in technology infrastructure to provide excellent services to customers, grow markets and create new ones more efficiently and engagingly. He referenced the successful launch of Specta, an innovative online lending platform which offers personal loans within five minutes as part of the bank’s digital transformation journey.
Giving details of the bank’s business specialisation drive, Mr. Suleiman said that Sterling Bank is actively mobilising private sector capital to solve some of the most pressing social and economic needs of Nigerians. “We have aligned the bank’s business model to offer financial and non-financial solutions to key areas which are at the HEART of Sterling Bank – Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Transportation. We are driven by the conviction that these sectors are important catalysts for our country’s socio-economic growth and sustainable development.”
Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting celebrated the Board, Management and employees of the bank affirming that its market disruptive offerings will entrench a customer-centric business model, ensure a leap in customer acquisition and retention thereby improving returns on their investments.