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Ecobank Shows Resilience, Grows Customer Deposits to N7.3trn

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By Dipo Olowookere

No doubt, the year 2020 was very challenging for many companies because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the midst of this, Ecobank Group showed resilience.

The lender operating in 33 countries across Africa released its financial performance for the year to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and from the brief analysis done by Business Post, the company proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it is a bank for the people.

This is because despite the headwinds, its deposit from customers increased and this can be attributed to the various digital products designed by Ecobank to make financial transactions easier for its customers.

In the year under review, Ecobank increased its customer deposits by 23.73 per cent to N7.3 trillion from N5.9 trillion a year earlier.

The deposits from customers formed a significant percentage of the bank’s liabilities in the period under consideration, N9.6 trillion versus N7.9 trillion in 2019.

It was observed that the good use of technology for banking operations helped Ecobank to grow its interest income in the year by 4 per cent to N531.2 billion from N510.8 billion.

Last year, after the federal government declared a lockdown to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country, many residents could not go out and technology was the saving grace for most organisations, including banks.

With an interest expense of N184.6 billion versus N239.6 billion in 2019, Ecobank closed the year with a 28 per cent rise in its net interest income of N346.6 billion compared with N271.2 billion in the prior year.

Sadly, the gross earnings recorded in the year reduced by 0.02 per cent to N841.1 billion from N842.5 billion, while the operating income improved by 9.0 per cent to N641.8 billion from N586.9 billion.

A further look into the results by Business Post showed that the fee and commission income reduced to N162.2 billion from N166.4 billion as a result of the decline in the portfolio and other management fees as well as card maintenance fees.

According to the results, a 4 per cent increase in the operating expenses to N402.7 billion from N388.3 billion as well as others weakened the profit before tax of the company significantly by 55 per cent to N66.6 billion from N146.5 billion.

The profit after tax closed in the year at 33.7 billion in contrast to N99.5 billion in 2019, signifying a decline by 66 per cent.

But the CEO of Ecobank Group, Mr Ade Ayeyemi, remains optimistic that the bank will fly higher.

He said the expansion of the balance sheet with the increase in the total assets of the bank to N10.4 trillion in the year from N8.6 trillion in the corresponding year of 2019 was “a reflection of the power of our pan-African diversified one-bank business model.”

“I am proud of Ecobankers’ hard work and continued service to our customers and the support we provide to the communities we serve,” he enthused.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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