By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
FBNHoldings Plc has announced a profit of N89.7 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020, indicating an increase of 21.8 per cent.
The company disclosed this in its 2020 audited result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The profit was higher when compared with N73.7 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2019.
Also, profit before tax rose by 11.2 per cent to N83.7 billion in contrast with N75.3 billion posted in 2019.
Its operating income stood at N426.3 billion from N417.5 billion in 2019, while gross earnings dropped marginally by 1.9 per cent to N579.4 billion from N590.4 billion in the previous year.
The company’s total assets rose by 23.9 per cent to N7.7 trillion in contrast with N6.2 trillion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.
Also, customers deposits grew to N4.89 trillion against N4.02 trillion posted in the previous period.
The company said that the decline of 1.9 per cent in gross earnings was driven by a 10.9 per cent year-on-year decline in interest income to N384.8 billion against N431.9 billion achieved in 2019.
This is largely on the back of government securities which declined on the short and long end of the yield curve.
Commenting on the performance, UK Eke, the Group Managing Director, said that the company was pleased to close the year in a healthy financial position in spite of the difficult operating environment.
“FBNHoldings is pleased to close the year in a healthy financial position despite the difficult operating environment that has been characterised by unprecedented events as a result of the pandemic and challenging economic environment.
“As part of our strategic planning cycle, which is in the second year, we exited the insurance underwriting business through the sale of our interest in FBNInsurance to our long-term partner, the Sanlam Group.
“This decision is consistent with our portfolio optimisation strategy, underscored by the renewed focus on deepening our foothold in the banking sector through increased investment in digitalisation, innovation, and expansion in financial services for the benefit of our existing and new customers.
“The proceeds from the sale have been injected in First Bank of Nigeria to strengthen the core business of the group and drive further market growth.
“Five years ago, we outlined our strategy to diversify our income stream by boosting non-interest income through a transaction-led banking model.
“We believe this decision reduced the burden on our customers during the lockdown by providing seamless access to banking service as well as support the effort of the Government and other donor agencies to reach Nigerians with the COVID-19 support programmes,” Eke said.
Also speaking, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank Group, said that the commercial banking posted strong performance in 2020 with a profit before tax growth of 4.0 per cent.
“The Commercial Banking Group posted another strong performance in 2020 with a profit before tax growth of 4.0 per cent and total asset growth of 25.5 per cent y-o-y despite the unprecedented macro-economic challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a group, our investments in technology and digital channels ensured that we were well positioned to respond in the face of the outbreak, keeping our services to our customers stable and unbroken during the period.
”The impressive growth of 20.5 per cent (N803 billion) in customers’ deposit demonstrates the significant value of our brand equity which has become synonymous with security and safety. It further demonstrates customers’ confidence in the Bank, which we have continued to sustain even in the face of a challenging operating environment.
“We continue to successfully expand our agent banking network and optimise our banking franchises in all the markets where we operate.
“In 2020, we recorded remarkable growth in the onboarding of new FirstMonie Agents, significant increase in the uptake of our USSD, mobile app and other digital channels thus further reinforcing our leadership position in the financial inclusion and payment space,” Adeduntan said.
He said that the company would continue with the execution of its corporate strategic initiatives for the 2020 to 2024 strategic plan cycle.
“As we continue with the execution of our corporate strategic initiatives for the 2020 – 2024 strategic plan cycle, our objective remains to deliver accelerated growth in profitability through customer-led innovation; and to maximise returns to our stakeholders.
“We remain focused on the disciplined execution of our strategic initiatives that are aimed atenhancing efficiency and facilitating performance excellence across the board,” he added. (NAN)