Access Bank Plc’s shares rose 4.8 per cent last Friday as investors reacted positively to its impressive half year audited results to June 30, 2106. Despite the headwinds in the operating environment, Access Bank reported positive top and bottom-lines and recommended an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share for shareholders.

Specifically, Access Bank ended the H1 of 2016 with gross earnings of N174billion, up three per cent from N168.3 billion recorded in 2015. Interest income rose by 14 per cent from N98.8 billion to N112.3 billion in in 2016, while net interest income jumped by 42 per cent to N48.2 billion to N68.5 billion. Operating expenses was contained, recording a marginal 0.4 per cent increase from N69.64 billion to N69.93 billion.

Profit before tax stood at N50 billion, showing increase of 28 per cent, above the N39 billion in 2015, while profit after tax grew to N39.5 billion, from N31.3 billion in 2015.

Commenting on the results, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the performance continues to be resilient in the face of a challenging macro-economic environment, which has been further exacerbated by double-digit inflation, amidst an untimely devaluation.

“Despite these macro uncertainties, we delivered gross earnings of N174 billion, while pre-tax profits grew 28 per cent N50 billion in the period. The results underscore our continued ability to grow sustainably whilst effectively adapting to a challenging operating landscape.

He explained that during the period, the bank grew its retail market share, leveraging innovation and technology to create lifestyle products and enhance customer experience.

“This growth has led to significant increase in our transaction volumes and fee-related income. In addition, our cost of funds dropped by 170 basis points year on year reduction, reflecting the increase in our low cost funding base.
Notwithstanding the high inflation and the impact of the currency devaluation on cost, operating cost remained stable owing to our cost management initiatives. Optimising operational efficiency will remain an imperative for the second half of the year, as we continue to see the benefits of our cost initiatives intensify over the next few months,” he said.

According to him, the priority of the bank in the coming months will be “to strengthen our position in the industry, increasing focus on risk and operational efficiency, with customer-centricity at the heart of our strategy.”

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