According to a report released by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) in early June this year, around 38 million adults, or 36% of the total adult population in Nigeria, were financially excluded by the end of this year. 2020. This figure is quite higher than the revised objectives of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of 20% for the aforementioned period.
As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) targets a financial inclusion rate of 95% of Nigerians by 2024, it is undeniable that the Nigerian banking sector, in collaboration with other key players such as the telecommunications sector, must do more.
To scale up the financial inclusion campaign, some experts tasked key stakeholders to leverage mobile technology to deliver cost-effective digital products to underserved or financially excluded populations, especially those residing in rural areas, at low prices. affordable and on time.
As one of the key stakeholders, based on its position as one of the country’s leading deposit banks, Fidelity Bank of Nigeria Plc has consistently delivered on expectations by deploying customer-friendly digital innovations . Some of these innovative digital products include; Fidelity Insight, Fidelity Virtual Cards, Pay Yourself Initiative for Corporates, Fidelity Loan Against Turnover (FLOAT), among others.
It will be recalled that following her entry into office as CEO of the bank in January 2021, Ms. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe announced a seven-point program focused on innovation, brand renewal, transformation workforce, service excellence, digital transformation, the discipline of performance. and accelerated growth all aimed at propelling the bank to Tier 1 status by 2025.
Have these efforts paid off?
Data from its recent half-year 2021 results seem to suggest that the bank’s efforts to develop these innovative digital services are starting to bear fruit. According to the Managing Director / CEO of the Bank, Ms. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe; ‘‘Digital banking has gained further ground as we now have 55.1% of our customers registered on mobile / internet banking products and 89.3% of customer-induced transactions have been made on digital platforms.. ”
In addition, it is relevant to note that revenues from the digital banking segment contributed around 49.4% of the company’s non-interest income, which increased from 18.1 billion naira to 23.8 billion naira. naira during the period under review. The main highlights of the company’s results for the first half of 2021 are briefly described below;
- Gross profit for the period was 112.3 billion naira. (+ 6.2% year-on-year)
- Net interest income of 50.3 billion naira. (+ 4.1% year-on-year)
- Personnel costs totaled 11.1 billion naira. (-8.9% year-on-year)
- Customer deposits during the period stood at 1.98 trillion naira. (+ 16.5% since the start of the year)
- Profit for the period was N19.31 billion. (+ 70.8% year-on-year)
- Earnings per share of 67 kobo compared to 39 kobo year-on-year.
Commenting on the results, the Managing Director / CEO of the Bank, Ms. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe said: ““We maintained our impressive financial performance with double-digit profit growth as increased customer transactions generated non-interest income while improved operational efficiency continued to moderate costs. service. This resulted in a 72.4% increase in profit before tax to 20.6 billion naira from 12.0 billion naira in the first half of 2020.
A review of the financial result for the period shows that gross profit increased 6.2% year-on-year to N112.3 billion due to a 27.8% growth in non-interest income (NIR ) at N23.8 billion against N18.1 billion in the first half of 2020. The NIR was driven by strong growth in commissions on banking services (57.7%), account maintenance fees (50.6%) , digital banking revenues (49.4%) and commercial revenues (33.7%), etc., as the total of customer-driven transactions across all distribution channels increased. 58.0% year-on-year and 21.2% quarter-on-quarter.
“Digital banking has gained further traction as we now have 55.1% of our customers enrolled on mobile / internet banking products and 89.3% of customer-induced transactions were made on digital platforms., Onyeali-Ikpe explained.
On her projections for the future, she said: ‘“We look forward to maintaining the current momentum in the second half of 2021 by optimizing our balance sheet and reducing our service costs, which will translate into improved profits while remaining committed to achieving our medium and long term strategic goals. “