By Goddy Egene
Access Bank Plc has recorded positive results despite a challenging economic and regulatory landscape in 2020, the bank’s audited financial statement has shown.
The bank recorded gross earnings of N764.7 billion, up by 14 per cent from N666.8 billion in 2019.
Profit before tax grew by 13 per cent to N125.9 billion from N111.9 billion, despite the high cost of operating the enlarged franchise and the increase in net impairment charge of near N43 billion arising principally from a Structured Trade Finance(STF) portfolio in the Access Bank UK.
According to the bank, the STF impairment is one-off/COVID related and recoverable over the next 12-18 months against insurance cover from world class insurers.
However, profit after tax (PAT) rose by same margin from N94.1 billion to N106 billion in 2020 on the back of a 32 per cent growth in operating income, which offsets the rise in impairment charges and operating expenses.
Customer deposits grew by 31 per cent to N5.59 trillion in December 2020, from N4.26 trillion, while net loans and advances grew by 18 per cent to N3.61 trillion, up from N3.0 trillion in 2019. The board has recommended a final dividend of 55 kobo per share bringing the total dividend to 80 kobo per share.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, the performance attests to thebank’s s long history of resilience, scale, dedicated people and sustainable business model.
“Our resilient business model ensured that the group adapted to accommodate the resultant macro-economic downturn and headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our asset quality also continued to improve as guided to 4.3 per cent (December 2019 5.8 per cent) as we intensified recovery efforts, undertook significant write off and leveraged our robust risk management practices.
“This is expected to continue to trend downwards as we strive to surpass the standard we had built in the industry prior to the merger with Diamond Bank,” he stated.
He said going into the fourth year of the bank’s fivr-year cyclical strategy, the focus remained on consolidating the bank’s retail momentum and expanding its African footprint in a sustainable manner.