Business Hilights
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New Access Bank’ll up investments in staff, technology to drive efficiency—Wigwe

…As Bank’s N95b PAT in 2018 buoys merger with Diamond

The Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc., Herbert Wigwe has opened up on the strategic consolidation plans of the bank as it gears up to April 1, 2019 takeoff of the completed merger deal with apparently struggling Diamond Bank.
Making his first official comments on the just released 2018 financial results of the bank, he averred that “We made solid progress throughout 2018 in line with our 2018-2022 five-year strategy, and we remain committed to the achievement of our strategic imperatives going forward”.
He was quick to signify that going forward as the emerging Tier 1 financial institution in sub-Saharan Africa, investments will be dominated in people and technology to remain on top.
According to him, “As we continue to invest in our people and technology in order to improve operational efficiency and service touch points with earnings growth in 2019, the future outlook of the mega bank will be sustained.”
“In pursuit of our vision to be one of the leading banks in Nigeria, we took accelerated strides in the last quarter of the year towards achieving our overall retail strategy.
“The merger with Diamond Bank will enable us to fully entrench ourselves in the retail market with a view to lowering our funding cost.
“This transaction is anticipated to be completed by April 2019, resulting in the creation of an enlarged, efficient and digitally led tier 1 retail banking franchise,” he said.
He added that the contribution of the bank’s subsidiaries to group profits grew by 116 per share to N27.9 billion, underlined by the effective implementation of overall strategy.
Business Hilights notes that the latest financial year ended December 31, 2018 result of N95bn profit after tax as reported at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week has given stronger footing for its merger deal with Diamond Bank expected to be in force effective April 1.
An analysis of the report showed that the profit after tax grew by 58 per cent when compared with N60.07 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.
Business Hilights gathered that the bank’s audited result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week, indicated that profit before tax stood at N103.2 billion, against N78.2 billion achieved in 2017, which is an increase of 32 per cent from 2017.
The release further revealed that gross earnings rose to N528.7 billion which is 15 per cent in contrast to N459. 1 billion posted in the comparative period of 2017 with interest and non-interest income contributing of 72 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively. Access Bank in its wisdom relied on the robust results, proposed a dividend of 25k per share, bringing total dividend for the year to 50k per share.
Within the period under review, asset base of the bank, jumped to 21 per cent in total assets to N4.95 trillion in December 2018 from N4.10 trillion in December 2017 as Loans and Advances rose to N2.14 trillion against N2.06 trillion in 2017.
Besides, within the period under review, customer deposits increased by 14% to 2.57 trillion in December 2018, from 2.25 trillion in December 2017 results.