Increased lending by banks to businesses and the economy jacked up interest income in the banking sector, hence, reflecting on the cumulative net profit of N261.991 billion declared by 11 banks during the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2022.
This, according to LEADERSHIP findings, arose as a result of effective funding optimisation and drive for efficiency in the concerned banks.
The banks are; Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), Access Holdings, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc (ETI), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Fidelity Bank, Jaiz Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), Sterling Bank, Unity Bank, and Wema Bank.
According to the results released on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), total net profit released by the financial institutions for the period under review increased by 8.78 per cent from the N240.855 billion posted Q1, 2021 to N261.991 billion in Q1, 2022.
The performance in the first quarter reflects the resilience of banks’ business model. Despite the general turbulence witnessed in the wobbling economy, occasioned by the Russia/Ukraine war, high inflation, heightened insecurity and low investment, the banks still declared an impressive financial performance in the quarter under review.
Capital market analysts said, banks delivered a strong base for growth in Q1, 2022, through effective funding optimisation and drive for efficiency.
Leading in the profit line for the period was Zenith Bank Plc that reported N58.19 billion net profit, a growth of 9.67 per cent. Access Holdings net profit grew by 9.23 per cent to N57.991 billion in Q1, while GTCO declared profit after tax of N43.208 billion, lower than N45.546 billion in Q1, 2021.
Trust Bank, Access Bank and ETI with N49.302 billion, N41.147 billion and N30.587 billion respectively. UBA reported N28.665 billion while Stanbic IBTC profit was N19.150 billion.
UBA achieved a net profit of N41.496 billion as against N38.155 billion in 2021; ETI reported total profit of N38.324 billion as against N30.494 billion in 202; while Fidelity Bank net profit stood at N9.515 billion, lower than N9.590 billion recorded in Q1, 2021.
Meanwhile, Union Bank, Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Jaiz Bank and Unity Bank posted profit after tax of N5.551 billion, N3.543 billion, N2.856 billion, N1.040 billion and N869.264 million respectively, as against N6.207 billion, N2.395 billion, N1.305 billion, N832.297 million and N721.537 million, respectively in Q1, 2021.
Speaking on the Bank’s performance, the Group managing director/chief executive officer, UBA, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, explained that, despite the myriad of economic challenges on the global front which shaped the first three months of the year, the bank’s business model continued to show resilience.
These challenges among others, he noted, include the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine that has resulted in a huge supply shock, pushing up commodity prices; and the hike in the interest rates in most advanced countries aimed at tackling spiraling inflation, sparking capital flow reversal from emerging and frontier markets.
Moreover, the CEO of GTCO, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said: “our first quarter results show a decent improvement across key revenue lines as well as other financial metrics, which demonstrates our ability to effectively navigate the evolving business landscape anchored on our strong business fundamentals.
“With this performance, we are optimistic about the rest of 2022 as we rapidly consolidate the gains of our new holding company structure to deliver superior stakeholder value.”
The chief executive officer, Ecobank Group, Ade Ayeyemi stated that the performance was achieved in a difficult operating environment characterised by the strengthening of the US dollar against local operating currencies, high inflation, high interest rates and tight labour markets across Africa as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continued to take its toll.
“Despite these challenges, we continued to support our customers effectively, which paid off as our businesses grew their revenues and profits. These were driven by trade, cash management, FICC and payments, while we also achieved modest loan growth with support from higher interest rates,” he said.
Assessing the performance, the managing director, ARM Securities Limited, Mr. Rotimi Olubi said:, “Interest income has been a major driver of earnings across all banks. We have seen a significant increase in banks interest income due to rise in loans from customers and institutions.”
He noted that there was increase in banks gross earnings across all banks as a result of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief operating officer, InvestData Limited, Mr. Ambrose Omordion said the Q1 2022 is a reflection of economic recovery in Nigeria post COVID-19.
According to him, the performance showed the local economy is not doing bad in the Q1, 2022 as projected by the world bank. Banks been the cash flow of the economy have performed beyond expectations.
Speaking from a shareholder’s perspective, chairman of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, noted that, Nigerian banks have proven to be resilient in growing profits and savings from customers despite domestic and global challenges.
“It is a good thing that Nigerian banks are still resilient and are doing very well despite economy challenges. The resilient is what investors are seeing in our banks and are taking position. The Q1, 2022 performance is encouraging and with the growth, shareholders are expecting higher dividend in 2022 full year,” he pointed out.