Ecobank targets more growth …as shareholders laud the bank’s 2015 achievements


Ecobank has targetted further growth in all sectors to cement its status as the biggest bank in the country.

As shareholder after shareholder at the bank’s recent annual general meeting lauded and complimented the bank for posting impressive results in a year that saw major challenges in the economy, the bank said it is leaving no stone unturned to deliver much more growth.

The bank’s Chief Financial Officer Edward Botchway said: “Ee expect to continue on our current growth path.

Last year was good despite the challenging economic conditions in which we had to operate, and we will continue to find ways of improving and doing better.

“I think in the areas where we know we have to strengthen we will continue to strengthen. If you walk into any branch now, we have made improvements and listened to the feedback from our customers and what they expect,” he said.

To show how committed the bank is to growing and moving away from the crowded banking sphere, Mr. Botchway added: “Even as we are the biggest bank in Ghana and made a record GH¢1billion in revenue, we will continue to press forward; and we think 2016 will be much better than 2015”.

He further added that the bank will be improving across the board: from customer service to operational efficiency and growing income.

“We hope to play much more in the e-banking sphere despite our strength there. Our e-banking platform is very strong and it is much more about enhancing the quality of it.”

Ecobank recorded total income of GH¢1.02billion in 2015, representing a 19 percent increment over 2014 earnings which stood at GH¢857.7million.

Net interest income increased by 23 percent, which was driven by increased lending in key customer segments and higher yields on government bills and bonds.

The bank recorded a modest 3 percent gain in profit before tax, from GH¢446.9million in 2014 to GH¢458.6million in 2015 with tax expenses of GH¢137million for 2015.

The bank ended the year with a profit-after-tax of GH¢321million.Basic earnings per share was GH¢1.10 compared to GH¢1.09 in 2014, with capital ratios posting impressive figures of 38 percent on equity and 5.2 percent on assets.

The bank’s balance sheet grew by 16 percent to GH¢6.7billion compared to GH¢5.8billion from 2014.

The bank’s loans and advances to customers grew by 15 percent to GH¢3.1billion, depicting the bank’s commitment to its clients and supporting business development in Ghana supported by a customer deposit increment of 14 percent from GH¢4.8billion and from GH¢4.2billion in 2014.

The bank’s total equity stood at GH¢890million, up 11 percent from the previous year, with the bank’s ratings affirmed at AA- (GH) and A1+ (GH) by the Global Credit Rating Company.

On the back of this performance, the bank paid a dividend of GH¢0.84 per share, up from GH¢0.79 paid last year.

But with NPLs across the industry rising sharply, Ecobank recorded an NPL rate of 16.60 percent in 2015 from a low of 2.6percent in 2014, but Mr. Botchway remains optimistic about 2016.

Total impairment charges on loans and advances at GH¢116million are underpinned by the 15 percent growth in the loan book, and also reflects the general downturn in economic activities resulting in increased provisioning.

The bank’s board chairman, Terence Ronald Darko, in a speech read on his behalf touched on awards the bank won in 2015, which was 18 in total and included Best Bank of the Year awards from the Corporate Initiative Ghana (CIG); Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG); and Euromoney.

He also touched on the numerous corporate social responsibility activities the bank undertook in 2015, which cost it over GH¢2million.



Source: B&FT Online