Sterling Bank Plc shareholders approved resolutions for the payment of a five kobo per share dividend for the fiscal year 2020.
The approval was given at the bank’s 59th annual general meeting, which was held by proxy in Lagos and streamed live through digital channels on Thursday, according to a statement titled “FY 2020: Shareholders commend Sterling Bank’s improved performance.”
In a difficult year, Sterling Bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Asue Ighodalo, said the bank concentrated on the continued strategic growth of its core pillars – digitisation, agility, and specialisation.
“Despite the harsh economic environment triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sterling Bank maintained an improvement in business performance during the year under review,” Ighodalo said.
“Despite a 7.5% drop in earnings to N138.9 billion, we increased profit before tax by 15.9% and profit after tax by 6.0 percent to N12.4 billion and N11.2 billion, respectively.”
He stated that the bank achieved a 2.5 percent reduction in operating expenses, in line with its determination to drive operational performance across the organization, as it continues to leverage past technology investments.
He stated that the bank ended the year with a stronger balance sheet as total assets increased steadily by 9.8% to N1.3ton in 2020.
This was fueled by concerted efforts to mobilize consumer deposits, which resulted in a record 6.5 percent increase in deposit base to N950.8 billion in 2019, up from N892.7 billion in 2019.
During the year under review, Ighodalo said the bank saw a 39.5 percent increase in low-cost current and savings account deposits, resulting in an improved deposit ratio of 78.9% (CASA/total deposit).
He said this helped to lower the cost of funds from 6.3 percent in 2019 to 4.7 percent in 2020, which was below the 5% mark. On the back of a rise in retained earnings, the bank also increased shareholders’ funds by 13.5 percent to N135.8 billion.