By Dipo Olowookere
Access Bank Plc released its 2017 financial statements to the investing public yesterday and the results were not too impressive.
Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, attributed this to the slow economic expansion during the year.
In the financial results, the lender recorded a drop in its profit before tax by 11.36 percent, posting N80 billion in 2017 against N90.3 billion it achieved in 2016.
Also, its profit after tax went down by 13.23 percent from N71.4 billion two years ago to N62 billion last year.
However, the gross earnings appreciated during the period by 20.4 percent to N459.1 billion from N381.3 billion in the corresponding period of 2016.
This was buoyed by the growth recorded in the interest income, 29.35 percent, to finish at N319.9 billion in 2017 against N247.2 billion achieved in 2016.
While commenting on the results, Mr Wigwe said, “Our operating performance in 2017 was impacted by the residual effects of macro-economic conditions of 2016, characterised by slow economic expansion and adverse credit conditions, which resulted in making conservative provisions on our loan book.”
However, he noted that despite the macro and regulatory headwinds, “Our underlying business remained strong as reflected in the gross earnings growth of 20 percent to N459 billion in 2017.”
“We grew our loan book to position it for improved earnings, whilst driving deposit mobilization from targeted segments to diversify our funding base,” the bank chief said.
Mr Wigwe described the year 2017 as “pivotal for the bank, as it concluded its 2013-2017 corporate strategic plan.”
He said, “Its successful implementation was hinged on discipline, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to our set objectives.”
“I am particularly excited about the next phase of the bank’s evolution centred on an integrated global franchise.
“The execution of the 2018-2022 strategy commences with focus on deepening our retail offerings, underpinned by strong digital and payment solutions.
“Throughout the next phase, we will continue to invest in technology as we establish a universal payments gateway with an ecosystem of local and international partnerships,” he disclosed.
Access Bank’s capital and liquidity levels of 22.5 percent and 47.3 percent respectfully remained robust, well above the required regulatory minimum, providing a strong buffer against the macro challenges and room to expand its business.
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