Notwithstanding economic challenges occasioned by the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Access Bank Plc announced gross earnings of ₦764.7billion for the financial year, which ended December 31, 2020.
2020 financial year was heavily disrupted by the rampaging COVID-19 that made countries of the world including Nigeria to shut down. As the world grappled with that, Nigeria’s woes increased with the #ENDSARS protest, which nearly consumed Nigeria. The protest was staged to force the government to bring an end to the incessant police brutality in Nigeria.
But as all those challenges of 2020 continued unending, Access Bank’s audited gross earnings showed a 15 per cent improvement from the ₦666.75bn posted for the comparative period of 2019. While the Bank’s Profit Before Tax stood at ₦125.9bn, it also posted a non-interest income of ₦275.5bn, a significant 112 per cent y/y growth from 2019.
This is despite the cost of operating its enlarged franchise. According to Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director and CEO of Access Bank Plc, the institution’s resilient performance “is testament to the effectiveness of our strategy and capacity to generate sustainable revenue.”
“The strategic actions that the bank has taken over the past 12 months evidence a strong focus on retail banking and financial inclusion, an African expansion strategy and a drive for scale for sustainable value creation. In 2020, Access Bank proudly opened its doors for business in Kenya and Mozambique, further increasing our footprints across the African Continent.
“Access Bank Zambia also concluded the acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited in January 2021 and the Group recently announced the approval by relevant regulatory authorities for the acquisition of Grobank Limited, creating an inroad into the South African market in realisation of the Group’s strategic ambitions.
“In view of the opportunities that exist in the market, we will be transitioning to a HoldCo structure. The bank has received the Approval-In-Principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the restructuring and the HoldCo will consist of four subsidiaries in order to tap into the market opportunities that are available in the consumer lending market, electronic payments industry and retail insurance market. Going into the fourth year of our 5-year cyclical strategy, our focus remains on consolidating our retail momentum and expanding our African footprint in a sustainable manner,” Wigwe said.
Access recorded a consistent growth in its retail banking business, reporting a 5.8mn growth in customer sign-on during the year through our financial inclusion efforts. This increase in customer base led to a retail revenue of ₦177.2bn, a 64.4 per cent increase from its FY 2019 figures of ₦107.8bn. The bank’s customer deposits also grew by 31 per cent to ₦5.59trn in Dec 2020 with savings account deposits standing at ₦1.31trn. Similarly, net loans and advances grew by 18 per cent to ₦3.61trn in comparison to its FY 2019 figures of ₦3.06trn.
As the bank intensified recovery efforts, undertook significant write off and leveraged its robust risk management practices, its asset quality improved to 4.3 per cent compared to its 2019 report of 5.8 per cent and this is expected to continue to trend downwards as it strives to surpass the standard it had built in the industry prior to the merger with Diamond Bank.