Guarantee Trust Bank
GTBank

BY EMEKA EJERE

It appears all hope is not lost about a possible rebound of the Nigerian economy after the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is taking a huge toll on the global economy.

First-quarter results of the nation’s tier 1 banks so far released do not vindicate those who fear that the global crisis will place the final nail on the coffin of an economy that is already on life support.

The banks recorded double-digit improvement across almost all their major income lines in their recently released unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.

Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank) declared total assets of N4.06 trillion for Q1 2020, as against N3.76 trillion in Q1 2019. On the other hand, the tier-1 bank’s total liabilities stood at N3.4 trillion in Q1 2020 as against N3.07 trillion in Q1 2019.

The bank’s profit before tax (PBT) stood at N58.2billion, climbing up by 2.1% as against N57.0 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, profit after tax (PAT) stood at N50.07billion, as against N49.3 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019.

GTBank’s loan book grew by 8.0 % to N1.622 trillion in March 2020. Also, customers’ deposits grew by 9.3% to N2.77 trillion in Q1 2020, up from N2.53 trillion in the same period in 2019.

Net Interest Income of N64.28 billion was recorded in Q1 2020 as against N53.58 billion in Q1 2019.Net fee and Commission Income of N13.55 billion was realised in Q1 2020 as against N18.01billion in Q1 2019.

On its part, Access Bank grew net interest income for the period under review by 27% to N72.2 billion up from N56.8 billion that was recorded in Q1 2019.

In Q1 2020, the tier-1 lender incurred a total cost of N19.6 billion in personnel expenses. This shows a 53.5% jump compared to N12.8 billion in Q1 2019. In the same vein, other operating expenses also jumped sharply to N63.5 billion, marking a 69.8% increase when compared to N37.4 in Q1 2019.

Access Bank’s profit before tax for Q1 2020 stood at N46.2 billion, representing a 2.6% increase from N45.1 billion reported in Q1 2019. On the other hand, PAT decreased slightly by 0.53% to N40.9, down from N41.1 billion.

In the same vein, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. recorded an impressive 8.5 per cent year-on-year growth in profit before tax (PBT) in the first three months of 2020, to N32.7 billion compared with N30.2 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019. Again, UBA sustained its strong profitability recording an annualized 20% Return on Average Equity (RoAE).

Similarly, the Pan African bank recorded 11.8% per cent year-on-year growth in gross earnings to close at N147.2 billion for the three months ending March 2020, compared to N131.7 billion recorded in the first three months of the year 2019.

The bank’s total assets also rose by 13.4% to N6.4 trillion in the period under review, compared to N5.6 trillion recorded at the end of 2019 financial; while shareholders’ funds grew to N612.6bn from N597.9 billion in the same period.

Commenting on the results, chief executive officer (CEO) of the bank, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, expressed satisfaction with the bank’s performance in the first quarter of 2020, a feat he said remains encouraging despite the challenging business environment.

Uzoka said: “We are pleased with our top and bottom lines in the first quarter of 2020, delivering N147.2billion in gross earnings and profit before tax of N32.7billion”.

“The double-digit growth in the topline testifies to the resilience of our business model as a group, even as the 17% growth in our fees and commission income underscores our diversified business model, enabling us to deliver the best value to our stakeholders, even in tough macroeconomic scenarios.

“I am very excited about recent successes we have recorded in all our business segments, especially our retail and electronic banking businesses within the period, with retail deposits accounting for 72% of customer deposits even as cost-of-funds moderates to 3.3%.”

Speaking on operations during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Uzoka said the bank has put in place various strategic channels to ensure that customers’ transactions are effectively carried out with ease.

“In response to the spread of COVID-19 several national governments have announced a partial or total lockdown in a number of our markets, post-Q1 2020.

“Fortunately, we have built robust electronic channel platforms to enable us effectively serve our customers from the convenience of their homes. Despite the lockdown, our banking channels have remained open to our customers 24/7, even as we continue to align and adapt our operating model to ensure we service our customers excellently and safely.”

UBA was among the first set of corporate organisations to support the fight against COVID-19, donating over N5bn ($14 million) through the UBA Foundation, to catalyse a comprehensive pan-African response to the fight against the global pandemic. Nigeria and 19 other African countries are beneficiaries of the support targeted at supplying relief materials, critical care facilities and financial support to governments.

Uzoka noted that as economies and businesses adjust to the headwinds occasioned by the novel Covid-19 pandemic, the bank has been identifying emerging strategic opportunities arising from this and positioning to take full advantage of this to delight customers and create value for stakeholders.

“We also remain committed to our prudent risk management practices, as profitable growth and good asset quality remain our priority in 2020,” he stated.

By this result, the bank has maintained an upward trajectory in profitability. Last year, UBA recorded a 13 per cent increase in its Profit After Tax (PAT) for the year ended December 31, 2019.  Its PAT grew from N78.6 billion to N89.1 billion in the 2019 financial year.

The bank’s audited report for 2019, as published by the Nigerian Stock Exchange revealed that the growth of 8 per cent in Net Interest Income, 22 per cent in Net Fee and Commission Income and 19 per cent growth in Net Trading Income was responsible for its impressive growth in PAT for 2019 financial year.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than eighteen (18) million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints in 20 African countries.

With a presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA are connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.