Market News

Banks generated N438bn from digital transactions in 2023 - PUNCH

MAY 28, 2024

By Oluwakemi Abimbola

In 2023, digital banking channels brought in roughly N438bn for 10 financial institutions, an analysis of their annual reports has shown.

Compared to the previous year, the banking groups’ earnings from electronic transactions rose by 37.54 per cent from N318.64bn.

E-business income includes revenue from electronic channels, card products, and related services.

These channels include mobile applications, USSD channels, automated teller machines, agency banking, internet banking, point of sales payments, as well as credit and debit card transactions.

The growth in the electronic business income was driven by the increasing popularity of mobile and online banking in Nigeria.

Some of the banks’ annual reports that The PUNCH analysed were FBN Holdings, Access Holdings, Guaranty Trust Holding Company, United Bank for Africa, Zenith Bank, Wema Bank, Fidelity Bank, FCMB Group, Stanbic IBTC Holdings and Sterling Financial Holdings Company.

Leading other banks in terms of revenue from electronic banking was UBA, which raked in N125.58bn compared to N78.94bn in 2022.

Conversely, the banking group’s IT support and related expenses jumped by 148 per cent to N23.19bn from N9.32bn in the preceding year.

Access Holdings recorded N101.62bn income from its electronic business, including transactions on electronic channels, card products and related services.

That was about 70.34 per cent higher than the 2022 electronic business income.

The group’s IT and e-business expenses also rose during the period under review to N78.05bn from N44.63bn in 2022.

In its just-released audited statements, FBN Holdings reported N66.34bn as earnings from its electronic business higher than N55.09bn in the previous year.

In a statement accompanying the annual report, the bank said that electronic banking fees were a major driver of the growth of its fees and commission income.

“The underlying drivers of fees and commission were led by electronic banking fees (20.4 per cent) to N66.3bn billion, Letters of credit commission and fees (278.4 per cent) to N60.6bn, Account maintenance fees (12.3 per cent) to N22.3bn and funds transfer and intermediation fees (204.9 per cent) to N20.6bn.

“Customer acquisition drive has also been enhanced through a growing adoption across digital platforms and greater penetration of the unbanked segments through the agency banking network, further boosting financial inclusion drive.”

Also, Zenith Bank recorded N51.82bn as earnings from electronic banking fees in 2023, 13.29 per cent higher than N45.74bn in the previous year.

The bank’s spending on information and technology during this time also rose by 8.48 per cent to N33.59bn from N30.97bn in 2022.

For GTCO, the income from electronic business went up to N40.83bn from N37.74bn in the prior year, and its communications, administrative and technological-related expenses increased to N50.24bn from N42.39bn.

FCMB in 2023 recorded N17.69bn as revenue from electronic fees and commission, higher than N13.99bn in the previous year.

The bank’s spending on IT almost doubled to N16.57bn from N9.99bn.

Fidelity Bank saw its earnings from e-business rise by about 20.30 per cent to N14.03bn from N11.66bn in 2022.

The bank also increased its spending on IT significantly in 2023 as it surged by 274.73 per cent to N16.57bn from N4.42bn in the previous year.

Sterling HoldCo reported N8.588bn from e-business commissions and fees last year, higher than N7.16bn in 2022.

Wema Bank, which prides itself as the pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank, ALAT, saw its fees from electronic products rise to N7.35bn from N6.13bn.

Its spending on technology and alternative channels, however, declined by 1.84 per cent to N1.42bn

Of the banking groups reviewed, Stanbic IBTC Holdings’ N4.42bn income from electronic business was the least.

It was higher than N2.51bn in 2022.

In contrast, its expenditure on information technology rose to N19.34bn, indicating a 42.93 per cent increase over the previous year’s figure.

Meanwhile, the newly released Gross Domestic Product indicated that the financial services (finance and Insurance) continued to increase their contribution to the GDP over the quarters.

Speaking with The PUNCH, analysts identified technology adoption as one of the drivers of the growth in the sector.

The Managing Director/Chief Economist at ADSR, Dr Afolabi Olowookere, told The PUNCH, “The sector is growing, hence its contribution to the GDP will also grow. After COVID-19, the financial sector and ICT have been growing because people do a lot of transactions online.”


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