Nigeria: SunTrust Bank Grows Profit with Branchless Model

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SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited operating as a branchless commercial bank in Nigeria has announced a significant growth in profit for the year ended December 31, 2016.

SunTrust Bank commenced commercial banking activities last year with the vision to “offer high quality retail and commercial banking services in a modern and innovative manner.”

The bank grew its bottom-line by 160.2 per cent as profit before tax (PBT) rose from N131.9 million to N343.34 million in 2016.

In all, the bank recorded net interest income of N935.892 million in 2016, up from N220 million in 2015, while net fee and commission income improved from N65.389 million to N92.378 million in 2016.

SunTrust Bank ended the year with a profit after tax (PAT) growth to 74.57 per cent from N121.844 million in 2015 to N212.707 million in 2016.

The Bank in a statement said its financial performance and the results was a clear message of determination to succeed and deliver value to all stakeholders.

“We will use technology and a new way of thinking to provide banking services to many people and businesses in Nigeria for whom access to a bank account has previously been impossible. We will offer telephone, mobile and Internet banking underpinned by the traditional banking ethics of probity and integrity,” the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Muhammed Jubrin declared.

Consistent with its conservative risk profile, the bank maintained its strong liquidity position, with cash and short-term funds accounting for 32 per cent of its total assets.

The bank recorded a rapid growth in deposits by an impressive 425 per cent in four months, a clear demonstration of the success of its business strategy. Deposits from customers rose to N4.195 billion from a record N788.583million in 2015. The bank’s PBT and PAT margin improved from 9.2 per cent and 8.4 per cent in 2015 to 26.9 per cent and 16.7 per cent in 2016 respectively.

SunTrust Bank is the first fresh banking licence to be issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2001. According to Jibrin, SunTrust Bank started about seven years ago as a mortgage bank, noting that board and management were able to grow its balance to a reasonable size before they decided to pursue a commercial banking licence from the CBN which they got in September of 2015.

He said the bank would be a financial technology institution that would focus electronic channels by offering telephone, mobile and internet banking services.

“Banking is no longer where you go, it is what people do. Therefore, the only thing that can stand the future is no longer physical branches, but banking services that would be driven by technology. So, most customers of tomorrow would no longer be the customers that they want to go to the banking hall. So, you need to be able to position the institution to respond positively to the needs and expectations of customers of tomorrow. That is at the heart of our own vision and strategy as tomorrow’s bank today,” Jibrin said.

The Chairman of the bank, Mr. Charles Onyema Ugboko, had said that establishing a bank amid the present economic situation showed that the board and management are committed to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

SunTrust Bank operates the branchless banking model where it will deliver financial services outside conventional bank branches.

According to the bank, it hopes to eliminate the need for costly brick-and-mortar branches and use agent networks to reach its customers more efficiently.

“Our services will be available to our customers 24 hours daily, seven days a week and from anywhere in the world where there is a good Internet service.

“Even our data centre is outsourced, this way we will not have the overbearing requirement to put on the generator at our locations,” Jubrin said.

He explained that SunTrust Bank customers will be encouraged to use any bank ATM because the bank will not be charging them the fee charged by other banks for using ATM machines belonging to other banks.

“We will not be emphasising physical security as we are making serious investment in cyber security instead.”

“In the years to come, the developments at SunTrust should have far-reaching influence in the banking sector specifically and our nation generally,” the CEO said.

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