By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, has expressed his views on the future prospect of the financial institution.
Mr Abubakar, while speaking at the 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank held recently virtually by proxy and streamed live from the Muson Centre in Lagos, noted that the lender plans to serve its customers with empathy and knowledge on their own terms.
To achieve this, he emphasised that the management has “laid a sound foundation for 2020 with significant investments in technology to accelerate our digitisation.”
According to him, “For a bank to succeed in these uncertain times, it must be agile, cautious, innovative, knowledgeable and prepared.”
He said last year, the unwavering commitment of Sterling Bank to a more disciplined deployment of scarce capital and the strength of its retail business contributed to a 15 percent growth in profit after tax to N10.6 billion.
The banker said in this present fiscal year, the financial institution will maintain this strategy and give more value to shareholders.
In the 2019 financial year, the bank’s shareholders’ fund grew by 22.2 percent to N119.6 billion because of increase in retained earnings despite the challenging operating environment under which it operated.
The board then recommended the payment of 3 kobo per share as dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019 to reward its loyal and committed shareholders.
This afforded the bank the required buffer to finance its growth ambitions, and effectively become a first-class, stronger, creative and extremely dependable financial institution.
Corroborating the CEO’s stance on the use of technology to grow earnings, Chairman of Sterling Bank, Mr Asue Ighodalo, said, “A direct contribution of our investments in technology and intelligent automation can be seen in the performance of SPECTA-Nigeria’s fastest digital retail lending platform.”
He noted that the recorded growth in total equity was attributable to growth in comprehensive income arising from gains recorded from investments in debt securities.
Commending the bank’s performance, National Coordinator Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr Sunny Nwosu, lauded the increase in the bank’s demand deposit which went up by 47 percent.
Another shareholder of Sterling Bank, Mr Nornah Awoh, expressed satisfaction with the level of openness of the lender, noting that, “I don’t think it is out of place to have payments of external assessors stated. I want other companies to learn from Sterling Bank and do the same.”
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