Despite the economic downturn, leading Nigerian banks, including FBN Holdings Plc, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, and five others, have collectively reported a staggering profit of N703.3 billion for the full year ended December 31, 2023. This remarkable achievement marks a substantial growth of 111.56%, compared to the N332.43 billion profit reported in the previous year.
The seven banks, which also include Fidelity Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, Sterling Financial Holdings Company Plc, FCMB Group Plc, and Jaiz Bank Plc, demonstrated resilience and financial prowess in navigating a challenging economic environment.
The notable surge in profits can be attributed to several factors, including a significant increase in interest income on loans to customers, revenue from non-interest income, and gains from foreign exchange revaluation.
The financial year 2023 witnessed one of the highest inflation rates in Nigeria, prompting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to raise its Monetary Policy Rate to 18.75% from 16.5%. This move aimed to tackle inflationary pressures that manifested in challenges such as high and rising inflation, inadequate foreign exchange supply, depreciation of the exchange rate, limited external reserves, weakened output, and high unemployment.
Despite these challenges, the new administration led by President Bola Tinubu took steps to unify the local currency. The naira closed 2023 at N899.39 against the dollar, compared to its opening rate of N448.55 for the year. This currency adjustment significantly benefited most leading banks in Nigeria.
A breakdown of the banks’ unaudited results reveals impressive performances across the board. FBN Holdings reported a profit of N310.01 billion in 2023, a remarkable increase of 127.43% from N136.3 billion in 2022. Similarly, Stanbic IBTC Holdings declared a profit of N140.62 billion in 2023, representing a growth of 74.2% from N80.73 billion in 2022.
Other notable performances include Fidelity Bank’s announcement of N101.3 billion profit, FCMB Group closing 2023 with N95.52 billion profit, Wema Bank reporting N23.36 billion profit, Sterling Financial Holdings Company declaring N21.52 billion profit, and Jaiz Bank recording N10.97 billion profit.
The Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, highlighted the institution’s commitment to delivering strong financial performances amid a complex operating environment. He emphasized a focus on customer-centric innovations, transactional and digital capabilities, and robust risk management practices.
The impressive financial results of these leading banks not only reflect their resilience but also underscore the importance of strategic measures in navigating economic challenges. As Nigeria continues to address inflation and foreign exchange concerns, the banking sector’s performance serves as a beacon of stability and adaptability in uncertain times.