Diamond Bank Plc’s third quarter (Q3) financial report for the period ended September 30, 2018, has shown funds disbursement of more than N1 billion to small business owners, under the cash flow-based SME lending scheme.
The initiative, which is in partnership with the Women’s World Banking (WWB), has already earned the financial institution a ranking among the first five SME customer bank in Nigeria in the KPMG customer service survey of 2018.
The unaudited result, presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), affirmed the bank’s strong focus on the Nigerian market, rather than foreign markets, with a retail sector driven by technology to boost its growth and position SMEs for competitiveness.
Specifically Tech-driven retail boosts Diamond Bank’s Q3 result, the bank’s retail and digital strategy has supported the expansion of financial inclusion programme, with the number of banking agents rising to 70,052 in Q3, througStandard Chartered hosts mortgage fair h Diamond Y’ello, BETA and CLOSA product lines.
Besides, it introduced SMEzone to the market- an information-sharing platform, aimed at positioning entrepreneurs for competitiveness while the sale of its UK subsidiary expected to be completed by year-end.
The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Uzoma Dozie, said the global economy is currently witnessing a shift in trade relations alongside continued interest rate adjustments.
“This has led to greater volatility across markets and increasingly fragile economies. Nigeria’s economy has not been immune to certain headwinds, so that while the economy recorded quarters of expansion, the rate of growth has weakened.
“However, against this backdrop, our digital-led retail strategy has remained robust. Through this strategy we have been able to continue scaling up by reaching a wide pool of customers both cost effectively and efficiently.
“Our investors can expect a further decline in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), a further increase in our digital footprint and completion of the sale of the UK subsidiary. Through these actions we remain optimistic about the medium to long term outlook of Diamond Bank and its return to strong profitability,” he said.
An analysis of the result showed that despite the challenging trading environment, the bank’s non-interest income to profit increased by 10.81% from N24.66 billion in 2017, to N27.32 billion in Q3 of 2018.
Impairment charges decreased by 24.21% from N33.21 billion in Q3 of 2017, to N25.17 billion in the period under review, while interest expense, however, rose by 18.32% to N41.26 billion year-on-year.
The level of interest expense showed a continued to decline in-line with guidance, falling by 15.36% from N14.83 billion in Q1 of 2018, to N12.56 billion in Q3 of 2018, while a 2.89% year-on-year increase in operating expense to N66.20 billion in Q3 of 2018.
The bank said that cost containment measures are underway with its digitisation process contributing to quarter-on-quarter gains, as the operating expense declined by 0.36% from N22.15 billion in Q2 2018, to N22.07 billion in Q3.