• Revenue up 17%, impairments down by 35%,

Absa Bank Ghana has announced an impressive 2021 financial performance, recording an increase in revenues by 17% and a reduction in impairments by 35%. This comes on the back of a return to normal activity by the Ghanaian economy after a challenging 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Profit before tax and return on equity grew by 55% and 6.6% respectively year on year, reflecting prudent cost and capital management.

The results, announced this week, demonstrate a concerted effort by Absa Bank to grow and maintain an efficient and resilient organisation, support its customers and clients while investing in relevant parts of the business to ensure sustainable growth.

Profits before tax (PBT) increased by 55% Year-on-Year to GH¢1.1billion, with revenues jumping by 17% to GH¢1.6billion – driven by capital retention, strong liability growth and good growth in Loans & Advances. This was further supported by an active adoption of digital channels by the bank’s dynamic base of clients and customers. The emerging recovery of the Ghanaian economy in 2021, from a difficult position the previous year, was also a key factor in the revenues’ improvement.

The difficulties created by the COVID-19 abated in 2021, following improved levels of economic activity across key sectors. Absa Bank’s active participation in the Ghanaian economy’s improvement through its transactional banking segments supported this performance.

Abena Osei-Poku, Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana said: “The results reflect a return to medium-term growth, driven by recovery of the Ghanaian economy in 2021 from a challenging 2020 position due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am excited by what we have achieved as a business in supporting the key growth sectors of Ghana’s economy, empowering individuals and businesses to bring their possibilities to life. I am grateful to the Board, Management team and colleagues who are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure success for this business.  We remain focused on adopting dynamic and modern digital and data-driven solutions to make the lives of our customers and clients easy and convenient. We will also continue investing in our communities and promoting sustainability of the environment in which we operate.”

2021 Financial Performance Highlights 

Key highlights:

  • Revenue grew by 17% to GH¢6billion
  • Profit before tax (PBT) increased by 55% to GH¢1billion
  • Customer Assets was up 7% to GH¢8 billion
  • Customer Deposits were up by 22% to GH¢9billion
  • Return on Equity improved by 6.6% to 32.6%,
  • Impairments fell by 35%,
  • Revenue grew by 17% to GH¢6billion, largely driven by capital retention, strong liability growth and good growth in Loans & Advances. This was further supported by an active adoption of digital channels by the bank’s dynamic base of clients and customers.

The Ghanaian economy’s emerging recovery in 2021 from a difficult position the previous year was also a key factor in the improvement in revenues. The difficulties created due to the COVID-19 pandemic abated in 2021 following a return to normal economic activity across key sectors. Absa Bank’s active support of the Ghanaian economy through lending, transactional banking and other key investment activities also supported the growth in revenues.

  • Profit before tax (PBT) increased by 55% to GH¢1billion, primarily reflecting the shift in economic activity, credit extension and the improvement in performance of loans. This meant that the bank was able to fall on fewer provisional reserves against expected losses, thereby shoring-up profitability. As a result of this, Absa Bank has returned to its earlier position of being the industry’s leader in profitability. Additionally, this reflects a consistent trend after 2020, when we saw the impact of COVID come through in the financial results.
  • Customer Assets were up 7% to GH¢8billion –reflecting an increase in the bank’s loans and advances book, which is currently one of the leading portfolios in the market. Absa Bank’s approach has always been to responsibly support the growth of local businesses and impact the overall economy. We are one of a few banks in the country that has consistently grown its loans and advances since first quarter of 2020.
  • Deposits were up by 22% to GH¢9billion – An effective customer service approach and engagement, and a suite of digital channels, were responsible for this performance. Our customers continue to exhibit trust in us as a reliable bank that is committed to bringing their possibilities to life.
  • Return on Equity improved by 6.6% to 32.6% –making Absa bank one of the leading banks in terms of RoE in the industry. The bank’s strong revenue growth coupled with its operational efficiency and capital optimisation strategies underpin this outcome.
  • Capital adequacy ratio was slightly up by 0.4% to 23.1% – and significantly above the regulatory minimum of 10%. This reflectsa strong, safe and resilient bank with adequate risk and unexpected loss absorption capacity, and ability to leverage our balance sheet to support economic growth.
  • Impairments reduced by 35%– due to the relatively improved business environment in 2021 and the normalisation of our customer operations post the impact of COVID-19. As a result, the amount required to be set aside for potential losses reduced considerably.

Sustainability

Our performance as an organisation is also hinged on our sustainability strategy, which focuses on four pillars: environmental sustainability, education and skills development, inclusive finance and a just society. These pillars find expression in our key initiatives, which are yielding dividends by transforming lives and empowering the women and youth across the country.

We have developed a partnership with Mastercard foundation for skills development of women, small-scale and youth-led businesses in general. This will deliver a total of 50,000 jobs in several sectors of the economy.

Our Education and Skills development initiative, ReadytoWork (an online curriculum), has empowered 100,000 youth across the country through monthly online webinars focusing on training modules related to work, people and money skills to get them ready for the future workplace. More than 13,150 youth have benefitted so far from the knowledge transfer provided by the ReadytoWork online platform, while 2,000 participants have also been impacted by the initiative’s face-to-face engagement sessions nationwide.

To promote environmental sustainability, we have taken steps to reduce our energy and water consumption; and have also planted 5,000 trees in support of the Green Ghana National Campaign. Our internal initiatives – like Business Connect, SME clinics for clients and customers – have become avenues for entrepreneurial development and small business skills enhancement.

We have also commenced construction of our new head office building to reflect a long-term commitment to Ghana. The building is designed with a strong emphasis on promoting a ‘green revolution’ in line with a net zero agenda and environmental sustainability.*

Outlook

The results reflect a return to the medium-term performance trend, following the lows of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In 2022, Absa Bank will continue to put the customer first, enhance its offerings with improved digital banking solutions, and drive toward long-term sustainable growth for all key stakeholders in this market.

Our strategic focus remains unchanged – to keep the customer central in all we do as a business, and adopt dynamic ways of creating convenience while utilising modern digital channels and data-driven solutions to make their lives easy and convenient.

We aim to reflect a highly efficient organisation – upholding issues of compliance and conduct, while empowering our people with new thinking, passion and energy to continue performing at commendable levels.

While global economic challenges remain – partly enhanced by tensions in Ukraine, US-China uneasiness and the challenging local macroeconomic environment – we will maintain our customer-first strategy and focus on driving sustainable growth by taking advantage of our global competitiveness and local expertise to grow our business.

Credit: B&FT online