By Tolulope Oke
Sterling Bank Plc has stated how the 2021 fiscal year success was driven by a growth of 28.5 per cent in non-interest income and a 51.4 per cent increase in transaction volumes processed.
Speaking at the bank’s 60th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, Sterling’s Chief Executive, Abubakar Suleiman, noted that despite a rise in operational expenses caused by foreign exchange inflationary pressures, customer deposits increased by 21.7 percent year over year, with improved cost-to-income ratios.
“We will continue to focus on our heart strategy, optimize our expenses and lending while strengthening our risk management and recovery practices. These have remarkably improved our exposure with non-performing loans dropping from 1.9 per cent in 2020 to 0.7 per cent in 2021. Put together, these have enabled us increase shareholder funds by 4.2per cent,” Suleiman added.
The shareholders also commended the management’s remarkable performance while approving the board’s N0.10 kobo for every share of 50 kobo dividend payout for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
Chairman, The Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, spoke during the AGM and expressed pleasure with the bank’s 2021 performance, emphasizing that despite adversities, Sterling Bank has stayed resilient and grown stronger over the last 60 years.
He lauded the bank’s 25.4 percent increase in total assets and 27.1 percent increase in client deposits, respectively, resulting in a 20.2 percent increase in profit and dividend payout to shareholders.
The chairman of Sterling Bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said, “For us and for the nation at large, 2021 was a year of recovery from the adverse economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
He added that, “Breakthroughs in the development of vaccines for the virus, along with the campaigns to inoculate the global population gained ground and bolstered consumer and investor confidence globally and locally.
“The pace of economic recovery exceeded expectations despite threats of a third wave and the emergence of variants of the virus. This brought wind to our sails as we navigated the Bank to increase her profitability and growth.”