The Group recorded a strong performance in the first six months of the year, reasserting its capacity and resolve to deliver sustainable returns in spite of a tough operating environment. In the audited financial results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) recently, Access Bank recorded gross earnings of ₦174bn, representing an increase of 3per cent over the N168.3bn recorded in the same period in 2015. The Bank proposes an interim dividend of 25Kobo per share.
Gross earnings were driven largely by steady income growth from the Bank’s core business as interest income grew by 14per cent to ₦112.3billion in the first half of 2016 from ₦98.9bn in the comparative period of 2015. The Group posted a profit before tax of ₦50bn, a 28per cent year on year increase from ₦39.1billion. Profit after tax was up 26% in 2016 to ₦39.4bn, compared to ₦31.3bn in H1 2015.
In the face of challenging operating conditions such as rising inflation and currency devaluation, the Bank’s key indices remained stable: Capital adequacy stood above the regulatory minimum at 19per cent, while the percentage of non-performing loans to total gross loans was 1.9per cent, which is significantly lower than CBN’s threshold and one of the best in the industry.
The Bank also recorded gains in other financial indices; Net Interest Margin (NIM) was up 80bps year on year at 6.4per cent, compared to 5.6per cent from 2015; Operating Income grew by 11per cent to ₦130.2billion in half year 2016 compared with ₦117.6billion in the corresponding period of 2015; Total Assets amounted to ₦3.27trillion, up 26per cent from ₦2.59trillion in December 2015; and customer deposits grew 17per cent to ₦1.97trillion from ₦1.68trillion in December 2015.
Commenting on the results, Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director stated: The Bank’s performance continues to be resilient in the face of a challenging macro-economic environment, which has been further exacerbated by a double-digit inflation and currency devaluation. Despite these macro uncertainties, we delivered gross earnings of ₦174bn, while pre-tax profits grew 28per cent to ₦50bn in the period. The results underscore our continued ability to grow sustainably whilst effectively adapting to a challenging operating landscape.
The prevalent macro-economic conditions put a strain on business performance across the industry, with increased concerns about asset quality deterioration. Despite these challenges, the Bank’s asset quality remained stable, as non-performing loans stayed below industry average, in line with our guidance. Our capital and liquidity levels were also sustained above regulatory limits.
During the period, we grew our retail market share, leveraging innovation and technology to create lifestyle products and enhance customer experience. This growth has led to significant increase in our transaction volumes and fee-related income. In addition, our cost of funds dropped by 170 bps year on year, reflecting the increase in our low cost funding base.