FY’21: Shareholders’ returns drop as Sterling Bank reports N3.35bn fraud

The increased rate of fraudulent activities in Sterling Bank Plc, in 2021, has signposted its porous internal control, giving depositors serious concern about the safety of their funds, THE WITNESS reports.

A review of the bank’s financial statement by THE WITNESS for 2021, showed that perpetuators of frauds and forgeries in Sterling Bank only increased the number of their activities by one to 74 cases, they the value of their nefarious deeds by a whopping 1614% to N3.35 billion in 2021 from N195.34 million in the prior year.

In the bank’s report to the CBN, the actual/expected Loss was put at N1.60 billion against N123.81 million it reported in 2020, indicating a 1194% loss during this period.

The fraud and forgeries were carried out on the N142.32 billion grew gross revenue the lender raised in 2021, which was higher than the N135.83 billion it earned in the previous year by 4.77%.

The rise in Sterling Bank’s income in 2021 was driven basically by 47.93% rise in Net fees and commissions income to N19.36 billion and net trading income which went 134.07% to N6.18 billion, despite interest income dipping 0.43% to N110.98 billion and net trading income going down by 33.00% to N5.80 billion during this period.

Profit before tax ticked up 16.99% to N14.47 billion, while post-tax profit rose 20.22% to N13.52 billion on the back of 15.13% lower income tax expense of N959 million it paid in 2021 instead of N1.13 billion in the prior period.

Meanwhile, total expenses climbed by 9.93% to N72.83 billion, underpinned on other operating expenses that were up 15.26%, general and administrative expenses which went up by 18.39% and personnel costs that rose 0.51% during the period under review.

The bank recorded 24.22% increase in provision for toxic assets to N9.82 billion compared to N7.91 billion it set aside for the same purpose in 2020.

And about 2% (N14 billion) of the N712 billion Sterling Bank’s total loans and advances were bad as the facilities it extended to customers increased by 19.28% to N711.90 billion in 2021.

Total deposit improved by more than a quarter (25.94%) to N1.22 trillion from N972.12 billion in 2020, though other lenders deposited 26.87% lesser money with Sterling Bank during this period.

Meanwhile, total assets improved by 25.41% to N1.63 trillion, total liabilities grew a faster pace of 27.88% to N1.49 trillion in 2021.

Earning per share was better by 20.51% to 47 kobo from 39 kobo in the prior period.

However, THE WITNESS checks also revealed that value of Sterling Bank investors’ equities dipped from N1.53 on January 4 to N1.51 at the close of business at the end of the first quarter of this year.

Even worse, their investment in the bank shrunk by 15.52% in the last one year.

Nevertheless, the bank’s investors will enjoy a dividend of 5 kobo per share for 2021 despite their capital depreciation during the same period.


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