Sterling Bank Plc has reported a profit after tax of N8.5 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2 billion recorded in 2016, representing an increase of 65 percent in profitability.

Other performance indicators showed that the lender’s gross earnings rose by 19.8 percent to N133.5 billion against N111.4 billion in 2016. The management attributed the performance to growth in both interest and non-interest income by 11.3 percent and 87.8 percent respectively.

Similarly, the bank’s net operating income rose by 7.9 percent, while cost-to-income ratios improved by 260 basis points to 71.5 percent. Customer deposits increased by 17.1 percent to N684.8 billion, as against N584.7 billion in 2016, while overall, shareholders’ funds grew by 20.2 percent to N102.9 billion as against N85.7 billion in 2016, reaffirming the bank’s commitment to returning value to its shareholders.

The bank’s Managing Director, Abubakar Suleiman, said that the bank’s financials during the year under review highlighted positive performance across key financial indices despite challenging operating conditions.

He stressed that the banking business continued to gain significant traction, adding positively to the bank’s bottom-line.

Suleiman explained further that the bank maintained a disciplined and prudent approach to loan growth in line with its risk management framework, a development which resulted in a significant improvement in asset quality as reflected in the reduction of non-performing loan ratio by 370 basis points to 6.2 percent.

He said: “Sterling Bank continued to scale its business with support from a well-diversified funding base. For the first time, we recorded N1.1 trillion in total assets from N834.2 billion in 2016 representing a 28.7 percent growth. We also gained traction in our retail drive with an active customer base that exceeded three million resulting in 17.1% growth in deposits.”