Fidelity Bank Plc grossed N152.0bn in earnings for the financial year ended December 31, 2016 and is proposing to pay a dividend of 14kobo per share to shareholders. The full year audited results for the top Nigerian lender, released over the weekend at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), show a 3.5% growth in gross earning, compared with N146 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2015.
That will seem impressive for a country in recession, for a bank to be growing. But the reality is that banks always grow in Nigeria because what they do largely correlate with the main economy. If you buy from Central Bank of Nigeria and sell dollar to traders, you will also make money.
In other performance indices, net interest income grew by 1.7% from N60.9bn to N61.9bn, whilst total deposits, a measure of customer confidence, grew by 3%, rising from N769.6 billion in 2015 FY 2015 to N793.0 billion. Similarly total assets increased by 5.4% to N1,298.1bn from N1,231.7bn in the corresponding year.
Profits however were moderated in the period under review by the one-off staff cost incurred during the year. Consequently PBT stood at N11.1bn down from N14bn in FY2015.
“Our financial performance in FY2016 reflects the sound fundamentals of our evolving business model as we continued with the disciplined execution of our medium-term strategy which positions the business for improved and sustainable profitability” said the Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo.
He explained that profits dipped due to the cost of N4.8bn cost incurred as Fidelity Bank discontinued its legacy gratuity and retirement scheme. “Excluding this one-off charge, PBT for the year would have been at N15.8bn” he stated.
Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank’s retail and electronic banking strategy has continued to deliver impressive results with savings deposits growing by 30.1% to N155.0bn while customer enrollments on its flagship Instant Banking (*770#) and Online Banking products grew by over 200% leading to a 44.6% growth in net e-banking revenues to N7.5bn. This performance he said was “driven by the upgrade of our core banking system which provides a superior architecture that enhanced our operational efficiency and deepened our electronic banking capabilities.”
Banks will continue to make money. But we do hope Nigerian banks can show one company they supported or funded. They continue to trade dollars. The economy can be on recession, they will just be fine.