Despite the difficult operating climate, Access Bank delivered good results in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2021.
According to the figures, the bank earned N222.1 billion in gross earnings, up 6% from N2029.8 billion in the same timeframe of 2020. Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased by 30% to N60.1 billion from N46.2 billion in 2020, while Profit After Tax (PAT) increased by 28% to N52.6 billion from N40.9 billion in 2020, thanks to a 13% increase in operating income and a 16% decrease in interest expense.
Mr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, said the results demonstrated the company’s good capacity to produce sustainable earnings based on its strong balance sheet, diverse revenue sources, and committed people.
“Despite the inflationary environment and increased regulatory costs, operating expenses remained flat as a result of effective implementation of our cost reduction strategy. During the quarter, our retail banking business grew by 112% to N57.5 billion in revenue, with 941,631 new customers signing up through our financial inclusion campaign. The steady and robust growth of the savings account to N1.3 trillion demonstrates this change, resulting in a substantial reduction in our cost of funds,” Wigwe said.
According to him, the bank saw a 29% increase in USSD transaction volume and a 40% increase in mobile and internet banking transaction value as a result of increased penetration of digital channels and an increasing customer base.
“As we intensified our recovery efforts, our asset quality continued to improve as guided by our risk appetite and efficient risk management, with an NPL Ratio of 4% (Dec. 2020 4.3%). Similarly, we cautiously increased our loan portfolio, as evidenced by the modest increase in net loans and advances to N3.65 trillion year-to-date (Dec 2020: N3.61trillion). Furthermore, with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of 22.2 percent and a liquidity ratio of 48.3 percent, we retained strong capital and liquidity positions, far above regulatory thresholds, allowing us to serve our customers across multiple markets and execute our expansion strategy effectively,” he added.
Wigwe confirmed that they are committed to a disciplined and thoughtful expansion strategy in order to achieve their goal of being the world’s most valued African bank and Africa’s payment gateway.
“We will focus on key markets to drive outside Africa and intra-Africa trade using the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).” To further expand our Southern African presence, we recently announced our intention to acquire a majority shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited, which is in line with our objectives. We are primed for strong earnings growth in the coming quarters, fueled by our retail momentum, strong balance sheet, and operational efficiency,” he said.