By Tanko Mohammed
The First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings has announced gross earnings of N159.7 billion for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
The gross earnings represented a growth of 14.5 per cent when compared with N139.4 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.
The company’s unaudited results released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) indicated a profit before tax of N28.7 billion against N17.8 billion in March 2019.
Profit after tax stood at ₦25.7 billion in contrast with N15.8 billion in the comparative period, indicating an increase of 62.7 per cent.
Its net-interest income was down by 15.9 per cent to ₦60.3 billion compared with ₦71.7 billion in 2019.
Non-interest income grew by 88.9 per cent to ₦49.7 billion against N26.3 billion in 2019.
Commenting on the results, Mr Urum Kalu, FBN Holdings Group Managing Director, said the first quarter results further reflected the turnaround of its business which began to manifest in 2019.
“The current situation demonstrates the importance of the deployment of appropriate technology and effectively validates our recent investment in enhancing our capacity in technological innovation and digitisation of our products and services.
“We are currently assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and will update the market as soon as we are able to give guidance for the rest of the year.
“As a group, we are progressing with our business continuity plans and all hands are on deck to ensure safety of our employees and service to our customers with minimal disruption.
“We are united with our government, industry and the wider society in our resolve to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and limit the damage caused by the pandemic,” Eke said.
Also speaking on the results, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, FirstBank Chief Executive Officer, said the commercial banking group performed very well in the first quarter.
“We are pleased with the performance of the commercial banking group in the first quarter of 2020, with gross earnings up 15.6 per cent and PBT up 54.8 per cent year-on-year respectively.
“We have also seen further improvements in our NPL and Cost-to-Income ratios and are now a stronger and more resilient institution, with a significantly enhanced risk management architecture,” she said.
“Adeduntan said that as the organisation began execution of the early phase of the new 2020 – 2022 strategic plan, it was aware of unprecedented times.
“However, I am confident that we are well-equipped to handle the headwinds.
“We have invested heavily in the last three years to establish our digital banking footprint with a network of over 53,000 agents across Nigeria as well as over 13 million customers actively transacting on our digital platforms (FirstMobile and USSD).’’