Fidelity Bank Plc recorded a solid financial performance in the first quarter of 2017, posting appreciable growth in profits and gross earnings for the period ended March 31, 2017. This is in spite of the challenging and fiercely competitive business environment.
Details of the unaudited results, released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) show that gross earnings rose by 18.8% from N34.4bn in 2016 to N40.8bn for the corresponding period at March 31, 2017. Similarly Fidelity Bank profits in the period, surged by 20.5% from N4.bn in 2016 to N4.8bn in 2017, just as it recorded growth in net interest income, deposits, loans and other performance indices.
Speaking on the results, the Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo said the double digits growth in earnings and profits underscores the disciplined execution of its medium-term strategy and a business model that enables the bank to continue to deliver improved performance in line with its 2017 financial year targets. â€œGross earnings growth was driven by a combination of increased yields on earning assets and an absolute growth in the volume of earning assets which led to a 24.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in interest incomeâ€ he said.
The Fidelity Bank helmsman also spoke about the impact of the bankâ€™s efforts at reducing operating cost. â€œOur cost optimization initiatives continued to deliver cost savings as total operating expenses declined y-o-y by 10.4% to N14.4 billion, this was driven by a decline in over 60% of our operating expense lines in Q1 2017. We will continue to optimize our cost profile without impacting service delivery through the disciplined execution of the initiatives from our recently completed business optimization projectâ€ he explained further.
Deposits, which is a measure of customer confidence, in the period under review, grew quarter on quarter (q-on-q) by 0.9% to N800bn in March 2017 from N793bn as at December 2016, with low cost deposits accounting for 79.4% of Total deposits. On the whole the bankâ€™s retail strategy has continued to deliver impressive results with savings increasing by 5.6% to N163.7bn as at March 31, 2017.
Ranked amongst the top Nigerian banks, Fidelity Bank has a strategic retail distribution network with presence in the major cities and commercial centers across the country. Rising from the recent rebranding exercise, the bank has become one of the most visible bank brands in Nigeria, gaining accolades and recognition for its superior e-banking products and services and promoting small businesses. Its SME financing strategy is delivered through a multi-faceted approach that includes robust business advisory, practical hand holding and guidance of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to building sustainable businesses.