Fidelity Bank Posts Double-digit Half-year Earnings, Profitability Growth

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  • Profits soar by 16% to N15.1bn
  • Gross earnings hit N103.7bn

Goddy Egene

Despite the country’s challenging and fiercely competitive business environment, Fidelity Bank Plc delivered a solid financial performance in the first half of 2019, recording double-digit growth in key revenue lines whilst achieving significant traction in digital banking uptake.

Details of the audited half-year result for the period ended June 30, 2019, released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) recently, showed a 15.7 per cent rise in profit before tax (PBT), from N13 billion in the earlier period to N15.1 billion in the reporting period.

Profit after tax (PAT) rose by 15.6 per cent to close at N13.6 billion from the N11.8 billion recorded in 2018, whilst gross earnings increased by 12.3 per cent from N92.3 billion to N103.7 billion.

Also, the bank’s total assets rose by 12.8 per cent to N1.940 trillion, from N1.720 trillion the previous period. Total deposits, a measure of customer confidence, increased by 12 per cent to close at N1.097 trillion, from N979.4 billion in 2018 financial year (FY).

Commenting on the results, Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, expressed delight with the bank’s financial performance.

According to Okonkwo, the bank remained focused on the execution of its medium-term strategic goals and targets for the 2019 full-year, whilst promising that the bank would continue to sustain the momentum and deliver another strong set of results for the nine-month 2019.

He said: “Gross Earnings increased by 12.3 per cent to N103.7 billion, driven by a 52.4 per cent growth in our fee-based income and a 7.2 per cent growth in interest income.”

Digital banking, Okonkwo stated, has continued to gain traction, driven by new initiatives in retail lending segment and increased cross-selling of its digital banking products.

“We now have 45 per cent of our customers enrolled in the bank’s mobile/internet banking products, 82 per cent of total transactions now done on digital platforms and 29 per cent of fee-based income now coming from digital banking,” he added.

The Fidelity CEO pointed out that retail loans were steadily on the rise after the launch of the bank’s new digital lending product dubbed Fidelity Fastloan, further adding that the bank has deepened lending partnerships with select Financial Technology (FinTechs) companies.

Buoyed essentially by innovative digital technologies, Fidelity Bank’s retail strategy has become a major game-changer for the business. This was again evident in the first half of 2019 results as savings deposits now account for about 22.6 per cent of total deposits – a clear sign of the bank’s increasing market share in the retail segment.

“We are on course to achieving the 6th consecutive year of double-digit savings growth,” the CEO said.

In addition, total deposits increased by 12 per cent to N1.097 trillion, from N979.4 billion, driven by double-digit growth in both local and foreign currency deposits. Also, non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio improved to 5.4 per cent from 5.7 per cent in 2018 full year, due to the growth in the loan book.

With regulatory ratios such as the Capital Adequacy Ratio at 17 per cent, liquidity ratio at 34.8 per cent, well above required threshold, Okonkwo was optimistic that the bank would sustain this sterling performance in the second half of the year.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over four million customers who are served across its 240 business offices and various digital banking channels.

The bank, which focuses on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), has in recent times won accolades as the Best SME Friendly Bank, Best in Mobile Banking and the Most Improved Corporate/Investment Bank among several industry awards and recognition.