One of Africa’s largest banking groups, Access Bank Plc, has announced its audited result for the financial year ended December, 2013. An analysis of the results released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange today validated the Bank’s capacity for sustainable growth.
The results showed an increase in the Bank’s deposit base from N1.201 trillion N1.33 trillion, an 11% growth over last year’s figure while its loan book rose impressively by 33%, from N609bn in 2012 to N810bn in 2013, demonstrating the Bank’s resolve to empowering critical sectors of the economy. The performance for the financial year under review is strong testament to Access Bank’s positioning as one of Nigeria’s Tier 1 Banks.
A glance through the numbers also revealed that the Bank’s earnings grew to N206.7bn from N206.4bn in 2012. Similarly, the Bank recorded an improvement in its cost of funds from 4.5% to 4.6% while Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio decreased to 2.7% from 5.0% which is owed to the Bank’s enhanced risk management framework.
Also, the Bank posted a Profit Before Tax (BPT) of N44.9bn which is a 3.4% decrease compared to the N46.bn recorded for the corresponding period in 2012. This is however attributable to regulatory changes in the operating environment, some of which include raising of the cash reserve requirements (CRR) on public sector deposits to 50% from 12%, reduction and removal of a number of fee income lines such as ATM and CoT charges as well as the increase in AMCON levy from 0.3% to 0.5% amongst others.
Commenting on the Bank’s performance, the Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe said “Access Bank’s 2013 earnings were impacted by several regulatory changes in the Nigerian banking sector. The Bank’s balance sheet structure during the period further constrained growth and limited the yield on our earnings asset. Despite the difficult operating environment, the Bank grew its loan book to position it for improved earnings, while driving deposit mobilisation from targeted segments to further reduce cost of funds. We also saw an increase in our non-interest income. As the business continues to grow, risk management remains fundamental to the Bank’s philosophy evidenced by the reduction in the NPL ratio.
I am particularly excited about the next phase of the Bank’s evolution. Having articulated our five year strategy plan, we began execution by re-aligning our SBUs to ensure that customer service and delivery are improved at all levels. With our businesses realigned, we are now placing greater emphasis on providing services geared towards women and SMEs in Nigeria, as they underpin the next phase of economic growth. Infrastructure financing is another key focus for us going forward. Throughout the next phase, we will continue to invest in technology to ensure that we build a customer experience that is both innovative and sustainable.”
Notwithstanding this development, the Bank will still maintain its commitment to maximizing shareholder value with a dividend payout of 60kobo per share; following its payment of an interim dividend of 25k, the sum of 35kobo per share has been proposed as final dividend to.
In the evolution of its corporate strategy for 2013 – 2017, the Bank has identified and commenced cultivation of business areas that will guarantee steady earnings in conformity with its sustainable growth agenda. The Bank has embarked on aggressive re-activation of accounts within its retail customer base and focuses concurrently on the financing the needs of its corporate and commercial customers.
Also, its Group Deputy Managing Director/COO, Obinna Nwosu who commented on the future of the Bank and provided highlight of how the strategy will continue to be met said “This past year, the Bank recalibrated its operating model as we leveraged on unique value propositions targeted at growing segments in the economy.
We launched and completed key projects aimed at increasing our efficiency and improving our customer service over the long run. These include the upgrade of our IT platform to enhance operational capabilities to support our multichannel strategy; and the revamping of our sales force model to ensure we better improve on customer engagement and utilise marketing opportunities.
Our customers remain at the heart of our business; we will continue to adapt to changing market trends to meet their evolving needs.” We have enhanced products, services and systems; we also have effective controls and outstanding people. All these together ensure that we are delivering on our customer promise of speed, service and security”.
Additionally, the Bank launched ‘Primus’, an internet banking application for corporate customers and introduced series of customer service initiatives to further transform customer experience across its service platforms. By this, the Bank seeks to consolidate its relationship with clients in indentified market segments while promoting economic development.