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Access Bank grows half year pre-tax profit by 31% to N97.5bn

Access Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender by assets, grew its half-year pre-tax profit by 31 percent to N97.5 billion in the first six months of 2021 from N74.3 billion in the comparable period of 2020.

Access also recorded a 14 percent jump in gross earnings to N450.6billion compared to N396.8 billion in 2020.

This feat was achieved through Access Bank’s unique business model that supports the corporate and retail value chains throughout the African continent and beyond.

With improving profitability, resilient capital position and a robust, diversified balance sheet, the Group is on track to deliver on its vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank.

Despite the inflationary environment and increased regulatory costs, the bank’s Cost-to-Income Ratio stood at 60.1percent, a 570-basis point reduction from 65.8percent in H1 2020.

Access Bank’s retail banking business continued to grow with a 24percent y/y increase in gross earnings to N118.6billion (H1 2020: N95.8billion), driven by a 46percent y/y increase in Interest Income and 37percent y/y growth in revenue from our channels and digital businesses.

During the period, the bank recorded progress in its financial inclusion objective to bank 1 in every 2 Nigerians. It added 2,371,832 new customers as well as 16,428 new agents, creating more employment and providing convenience to customers.

Read also: Banks to remain conservative towards private sector lending amid COVID setback

These strides in the bank’s retail business resulted in growth in savings deposits to N1.4trillion, a 4percent growth from N1.3trillion in December 2020, and a Cost of Funds reduction to 2.9percent (H1 2020: 3.7percent).

“Our push for digital innovations to improve efficiency for our customers resulted in significant increase in our USSD transaction volume (+62percent y/y) and our Mobile and Internet Banking transactions volume (+67percent y/y)”, said Herbert Wigwe, chief executive officer, Access Bank Plc.

Despite the challenging economic climate, Access Bank Plc maintained strong asset quality with a stable NPL ratio of 4.3percent (Dec. 2020 4.3percent). It expanded its loan portfolio, supporting sectors with the highest impact on the economy, with good quality assets as reflected by the growth in its net loans and advances to N4trillion year to date compared to N3.6 trillion as at December 2020.

Furthermore, Access Bank Plc maintained robust capital and liquidity positions well above regulatory levels, with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of 21.3percent and a liquidity ratio of 50.7percent, positioning the bank to support its customers and execute its growth strategy.

Wigwe further said: “Over the last few months, we have successfully completed acquisitions in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia, emphasising our footprint in key markets around the globe. We will continue to grow our presence in geographies with significant growth potential, especially where they support our global customers. As we become Africa’s Gateway to the World, we would also seek markets that supports our trade and payments aspirations and the African Free Trade Agreement. To further enhance our operating efficiency and ensure strong returns on invested capital, we will bring the best of our group assets, specifically our digital banking capabilities that support individuals and businesses, enhance financial inclusion, and deliver the benefits of a strong network effect across our enlarged Group”.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to demonstrate our ability and willingness to support our customers, our communities, and our colleagues. As the outlook improves, and as business returns to a new normal, we will continue to support our communities in order to stimulate growth and create new opportunities. To accomplish our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank, we are working together across the Group on the back of our robust balance sheet, increased retail momentum and efficiency”, the bank’s CEO further noted.

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