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Despite Economic Headwinds Sterling Bank Sees Sustainable Growth

Sterling Bank Plc has posted an impressive 15.4 per cent Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N10.7 billion in a year (2014) described by not a few analysts as tough for the financial sector and has pledged to sustain its growth trend in 2015 despite foreseeable headwinds in the first three quarters.

In his address to shareholders on Thursday in Lagos, during the Bank’s 53RD Annual General Meeting, managing director/chief executive officer Yemi Adeola admitted that macroeconomic shocks and tighter regulatory environment put significant pressure on margins of banks.

“The overriding macroeconomic theme for the global economy in 2014 was the sudden dip in the international price of crude oil in the second half of the year. This was the case notwithstanding the currency and inflationary pressures faced by several emerging and frontier economies owing to portfolio reversals,” he said.

Adeola stressed that the domestic market was not spared these headwinds and cost pressures in the operating environment on account of the nation’s infrastructural deficit.

“Despite these headwinds, I am pleased to inform you that Management remained undaunted, navigating your bank successfully through what was in many respects a very tough financial year. As a result, the Bank grew key revenue and balance sheet lines, while taking significant strides to place the institution on a sustainable growth path,” he said.

He stated that performance for 2014 lays credence to the commitment of the Sterling Bank team to its collective goals and the resilience of the Bank’s business model.

Highlights of the Bank’s 2014 financial statement include: growth of PBT by 15.4 per cent to N10.7 billion from n9.3 billion in 2013; 13 per cent growth in gross earnings to N103.7 billion from N91.7 billion in 2013; total assets increased by 16.5 per cent from N707.8 billion to N824.5 billion and customer deposits growth by 15 per cent to N655.9 billion from N570.5 billion.

In the year under review, the Bank successfully completed the second phase of its capital raising programme, made possible by increased confidence of the investing public.

“During the year, we invested substantially in the upgrade of our technology infrastructure and the re-engineering, centralisation and automation of processes to improve customer experience. Our credit processing engine for the retail and SME space was re-engineered to streamline the process from origination to disbursement to enhance service delivery,” Adeola added.

In his address Chairman of the Bank, Asue Ighodalo announced the declaration of a dividend of six kobo per share for shareholders for the financial year ended 2014, stressing that the Bank’s performance was impressive when juxtaposed with that of the industry.

He noted that a business built on the principles of good governance was more likely to succeed over the long term. “At Sterling Bank, conducting our business responsibly means serving the interests and meeting the needs of our stakeholders.”

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