Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Bank Transnational Incorporated, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, has said the focus of the bank is on making sure that it meets the needs of customers despite the pandemic, while also ensuring their wellbeing and safety as well as those of its employees. Ayeyemi stated this why commenting on the performance of the financial institution in the first quarter ended March 31, 2020. He said the quarterly performance was resilient, again reflecting the strength of our diversified business model. “We delivered $90 million in pre-tax profits, an increase of 27 per cent if adjusted for currency translation effects, and a return on tangible shareholders’ equity of 17.1 per cent. We are managing impairment losses prudently, and as a result, our cost-of-risk increased to 1.5 per cent, versus 0.5 per cent in the prior-year quarter,” he said.
He explained that all their countries have successfully activated their business continuity plan in line with the needs of each local environment. According to him, the number and value of transactions on bank’s digital/online channels across our businesses grew by eight per cent and 15 per cent to four million and $6.1 billion, respectively, on Ecobank Omni+, Corporate and Investment Bank’s corporate clients’ online banking platform in Q1 of 2020.
Ayeyemi said Ecobank Pay, its payments platform saw a 61 per cent increase in merchant acquisition numbers to 195,000 merchants. “Registered customers increased by 3,000 to 9,000 year-on-year on our Africa RapidTransfer App, which facilitates low-cost money transfer across 33 African countries. The number of XpressPoints (our physical agency network) grew by approximately 4,000 agents to 43,700, with the value of transactions reaching $445 million,” he added. He said the OmniLite, Commercial Bank’s online banking platform designed specifically to meet the unique financial needs of SMEs increased number of transactions by 40,000 to 126,000, which amounted to $435 million. The GCEO noted that through investment in technology over the years, working from home has been seamless and indeed a pretext to a possible new normal post COVID-19. As the leading pan-African bank. “ Ecobank embraced the call to duty with a sense of urgency. With our knowledge of Africa and its intricacies in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, we have contributed about $3 million in the form of cash, healthcare equipment and supplies, in addition to mounting sustained and robust awareness campaigns, while we are also using our digital banking platforms to provide money to some of the most vulnerable members in our communities,” he said.
Ayeyemi noted that in recognition of the effects of the pandemic on a significant sector of African businesses, MSMEs, the bank is further co-leading, with the African Union-NEPAD, and is actively committed to an initiative to support MSMEs with technical knowledge, mentoring, knowledge sharing and financial support, thus playing a vital role in helping their businesses survive the pandemic.