NIGERIA – Sterling Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading commercial banks, has reported a 10% rise in interest income for the first half of the year ending 30 June 2020.

This is despite of the Bank operating in a challenging economic environment characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sterling Bank reported that its a net interest income stood at US$86.70 million in the half-year ended June 30, 2020.

This represented a 10.1 percent rise when compared to the US$78.68 million during the corresponding period of 2019.

Sterling Bank’s total assets also rose by 9.4 per cent to US$3.34 billion during the review period from US$3.05 billion in 2019.

Customer deposits also performed just as well, inching up by 2.5 per cent to US$2.37 billion in 2020 from US$2.31 billion in 2019.

The lender closed the half-year with a trading income of US$10.13 million as against US$3.12 million for the corresponding period of 2019, representing an increase of 242.8 per cent.

 “Our impressive half-year performance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic disruption belies the rough seas ahead,” Mr Abubakar Suleiman, The Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, said.

The CEO noted that overall, the bank delivered a profit after tax of US$14.02 million on gross earnings of US$182.32 million in the first half of 2020.

This a slight decline when compared with a PAT of US$14.80 million on gross earnings of US$187.77 million during the corresponding period of 2019.

He observed that the contracted gross earnings was primarily due to a dip in fees and commission as a result of a downward review of electronic banking fees.

Abubakar Suleiman further noted that in the second quarter of the reporting period, the Bank focused on empowering stakeholders to respond to the unprecedented disruption occasioned by prolonged restriction to movement.

“Our commitment to digitisation was validated as we continued to serve existing and new customers through our mobile and digital platforms,” Suleimani said.

He further noted that the Bank will in the second half of the year, continue focusing on retooling employees to function optimally while observing social distancing.

Earlier this month, Sterling Bank Plc launched a new personalized banking service on WhatsApp with the aim of enhancing customer experienced.

Sterling Bank in a statement said that the WhatsApp personalized banking services was made possible through a collaboration with Clickatell, a global leader in mobile communications and chat commerce.

The revolutionary service would be particularly beneficial to the bank’s customers during this period of COVID-19 where free movement of people and handling of hard cash is discouraged as a measure to curtail the spread of the highly infectious virus.

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