The half-year result of Fidelity Bank Plc released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) late last week has shown that the bank’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to N12 billion, 22 per cent higher than N9.8 billion achieved in same period of 2019 while net profits rose by 33 per cent to N11.3 billion, an improvement from N8.5 billion achieved in same period of last year.
The bank also recorded N105.8 billion gross earnings in its audited results for the half year ended June 30, 2020 even as its total assets grew by 13.7 per cent from N2.1 trillion to N2.4 trillion while total deposits went up by 14.8 per cent from N1.2 trillion to N1.4 trillion.
The bank’s retail banking business has continued to also deliver impressive results as its savings deposits in half year 2020 increased by 32.2 per cent to N363.9 billion with the bank on course to achieving the seventh consecutive year of double-digit growth in savings.
Savings Deposits accounted for 49.1 per cent of the total growth in customer deposits and now represents 25.9 per cent of total deposits compared to 22.5 per cent in 2019 financial year.
Fidelity Bank has been implementing a digital-led retail strategy and digital banking gained further traction during the period with 87.3 per cent of the bank’s customers now transacting on digital platforms.
The figures are up from 82 per cent in 2019 while 51.2 per cent of the bank’s customers are now enrolled on the bank’s mobile/internet banking products.
Regulatory Ratios remained above the required thresholds with Capital Adequacy Ratio increasing to 18.8 per cent from 18.3 per cent due to the capitalization of first half of 2020 Audited Profits while Liquidity Ratio stood at 32.1 per cent, however, the bank’s Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio increased to 4.8 per cent from 3.3 per cent in 2019 financial year.
Fidelity Bank Chief Executive Officer Nnamdi Okonkwo said the performance for the period reflected the resilience of the bank’s business model.
“Due to the global and domestic headwinds witnessed in first half of 2020, we proactively increased our cost of risk as the impact of the pandemic slowed down economic activities whilst adapting our business model to the new risks and opportunities of the new normal,” he said.
According to him, Fidelity Bank re-stated its first half of 2019 figures from N15.1 billion to N9.8 billion to reflect the impact of International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee 21 (IFRIC 21)- Levies, which was adopted for the first time on the half year 2020 financials.
“The key impact of IFRIC 21 was that our 2020 financial year AMCON Cost was recognized 100 per cent in our first half of 2020 Accounts rather than been amortized over 12 months as was done previously on our financials,” said the Fidelity CEO.
He revealed that without implementing IFRIC 21, profit for the period would have been N17.9 billion compared to the N15.1 billion reported in first half of 2019.
“Though digital banking income dropped by 29.1 per cent due to the downward fee revisions for electronic transactions in line with the new bankers’ tariff, we have continued to receive positive reviews on our digital channels. IVY, the bank’s chat box is rated as the clear leader, among virtual assistants in the industry, just as our flagship instant banking product (*770#) was also rated in the top tier category in the recently released 2020 KPMG Digital Channels Scorecard,” he explained.
“We believe the new phase of normalcy will unveil some growth opportunities. We will continue to monitor and pro-actively manage any evolving risks as the Nigerian economy gradually reopens and economic activities pick-up in key sectors,” Okonkwo stated.