Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc have commended the board and management of the bank for the display of resilience, improved financial performance and returns on investment in 2020 despite the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global and local economic environment.
They also approved resolutions for the declaration of a dividend of five kobo per share, the election of directors, remuneration of auditors, and the election of shareholders’ representatives on the statutory audit committee.
The shareholders gave the commendation and approved recommendations at the 59th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank held by proxy in Lagos, yesterday, and streamed live across digital platforms.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had approved attendance at the AGM to be by proxy only due to restriction on large gatherings to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the bank’s performance, President of Nigeria Solidarity Shareholders Association (NSSA), Mr Matthew Akinlade, commended the bank for consistently improving on its earnings per share in the last five years.
In her comments, the National Coordinator of Pragmatic Shareholders Association, Mrs Bisi Bakare, congratulated the bank for another successful year.
She applauded the Board and Management for the significant growth in total assets and deposit base, improved retained earnings, increased profit before tax and reduced operating costs and non-performing loans.
Also, the National Chairman of Progressive Shareholders Association, Mr. Boniface Okezie, commended the bank for its achievement in a pandemic year.
He appreciated the bank’s management for the consistent dividend payout while urging it to continue to pursue its repositioning strategies aggressively to ensure it competes favourably in the industry.
Addressing shareholders at the meeting, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank, Mr Asue Ighodalo, remarked said the bank focused on the continued strategic development of its core pillars – digitalisation, agility and specialisation – in a challenging year.
He said the bank has effectively engaged with existing and potential customers and responded to market trends and developments while maintaining its long-standing commitment to innovation. Ighodalo added, “Sterling Bank sustained an improvement in business performance during the year under review despite the harsh economic environment triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Although earnings declined by 7.5 per cent to N138.9 billion, we delivered a 15.9 per cent growth in profit before tax and a 6.0 per cent growth in profit after tax to N12.4 billion and N11.2 billion respectively.”
He noted that in line with the commitment to drive operational efficiency across the organisation, the bank achieved a 2.5 per cent reduction in operating expenses as it continues to leverage on past investments made in technology.
He said the bank closed the year with an improved balance sheet position as total assets grew steadily by 9.8 per cent to N1.3 trillion in 2020. This was driven by consolidated efforts in mobilising customer deposits, leading to a record 6.5 per cent growth in deposit base to reach N950.8 billion from N892.7 billion in 2019.