Maintaining sound growth momentum, The Access Bank UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Access Bank Plc, today reported its financial results for the twelve-month period ended 31 December 2017. During the year, the Bank grew operating income by 45 percent from £25.0m to £36.2m, and profit after tax by 80% percent from £9.9m to £17.8m. Included within these results was an improving performance from the Bank’s international branch in Dubai which delivered income of £671k (AED 3.4m) ensuring a positive contribution after meeting its direct costs. Recognised as the Best Africa Trade Finance Bank for the second consecutive year and awarded the gold accreditation in the Investors in People Standard for its continued investment in its staff, the Bank achieved this increase whilst still operating within its moderate risk appetite.
Commenting on these results, Herbert Wigwe, Chairman of The Access Bank UK said, “The 2017 results for The Access Bank UK Limited demonstrate the ability to deliver sustainable performance built on the twin foundations of relationship management and a moderate risk appetite. The continued growth in the Bank's financial and non- financial resources have also ensured we continue to be able to both meet and anticipate the needs of our customers.”
The Bank has established a solid strong base with a balance sheet growth of 26% reaching £1.402BN. The return on equity is at 16.57% and the loans to deposit ratio shows a healthy 49.55% with a 37% growth in customer deposits to £425m following the success of the Bank’s Fixed Term Deposit product and increased deposits from correspondent banks to secure their trade exposures, which allowed for a controlled increase in lending in line with the Bank’s moderate risk appetite.
Jamie Simmonds, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of The Access Bank UK stated, “As we enter our 10th year of operations, the focus on providing innovative solutions for our customers has ensured we have been able to deliver our best performance to date with a 76 percent uplift in Pre-tax profits of £22m with an improved cost income ratio of 39 percent. We remain committed to meeting the growing international needs of our customers as demonstrated through the increasing range of solutions delivered through our regulated Branch in Dubai.”
Moreover, throughout 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria continued to ease restrictions imposed regarding access to foreign currency and introduced the Investors and Exporters window for the purchase of foreign currency, which resulted in the Bank witnessing a continued increase in trade finance volumes. This is expected to improve in 2018 as the Nigerian economy continues to strengthen having emerged from recession and recorded positive growth in 2017, in part due to the growth in oil production and the underlying oil price.
With the Bank meeting the key targets and outperforming the projections for 2017 set out in its second strategic plan ending in 2017, it also developed a new five-year plan which embodies the same principles that have guided its development till date. This plan reflects its vision of becoming ‘Africa’s Gateway to the World’, and will continue to follow a relationship-based banking model, growing its business through the depth and quality of customer relationships, whilst maintaining a moderate appetite for risk, relative to its peers.
With regard to the Bank’s core trade finance markets in Africa, Nigeria will remain a significant market, where it will continue to have a key role to play in facilitating the flow of trade to and from Nigeria. The Bank will also continue to leverage the brand recognition that it enjoys in its chosen markets to broaden its base of trade finance and commercial banking customers. Given the current signs of improvement in the situation in Nigeria, the Directors are confident that the outlook for the Bank is a positive one.
“While Nigeria will remain a significant market where we will play a key role in facilitating the flow of trade to and from the country, we are currently exploring opportunities in other markets this year,” said Rola Seifeddine, Head of The Access Bank UK DIFC Branch. “For businesses in the UAE, the opportunities to trade and invest in Africa are abundant, particularly with the UAE’s infrastructure and position as the gateway between the MENA region and Africa. As the first UK/Nigerian bank in Dubai, operating out of the DIFC, we are pleased to report a healthy profit as of 31st December 2017, and will continue to use our expertise to support local businesses looking to grow their trade relations not just in Nigeria, but across different markets in Africa,” concluded Ms. Seifeddine.
Financial performance summary
o Increase in operating income to £36.2m, up by 45 percent
o Increase in pre-tax profit to £22m, up by 76 percent
o Increase in total assets to £1,402.5m, up by 26 percent
o Increase in customer deposits to £425M
o First year profit covering all direct costs for DIFC Branch recorded at £671k (AED 3.4m)