Sterling Bank Plc, on Monday, said it would continue to adopt amicable resolution or when necessary, drastic legal actions, to achieve debt recovery outcomes.

Mr Ibidapo Martins, the bank’s Head of Corporate Communications Department and Chief Marketing Officer,  disclosed this on Monday in Lagos.

According to Martins, other strategies the bank is adopting  include restructuring for accelerated payoffs and possible foreclosure or disposal of pledged assets of defaulting debtors.

This, he said, would ensure a progressive drop in the bank’s Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio which had decreased significantly year on year since 2016.
‘’The bank is becoming common for debtors to exasperate lenders by their resort to subtle blackmail, unfounded allegations and other underhand tactics,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Abiodun Aderoju, Group Head, Credit Collection and Recovery of the bank, said “the bank has witnessed a 383 per cent increase in recoveries between 2016 and 2017”.

Aderoju said thr etfort resulted in a significant improvement in asset quality as reflected in the reduction in non-performing loan ratio by 370 basis points to 6.2 per cent in 2017 from 9.9 per cent in 2016.

“We are building aggressively on this momentum to ensure that defaulting customers meet their debt obligations to the bank,” he said.

Aderoju added that the bank would continue to maintain a disciplined and prudent approach to loan growth in line with its risk management framework.

He said: “The impact of our recovery efforts would be felt by the end of the financial year because it will result in a further drop in our Non-Performing Loan portfolio.

“We are keen on achieving this despite the antics of debtors who take their obligations lightly.”

The Group Head said the bank’s gross loans and advances in 2017 had increased by 29.5 per cent to N617.6 billion.

Aderoju also said net loans and advances rose by 27.7 per cent to N598.1 billion; the bulk of the increase was driven by cash-backed facilities with limited credit risks.

According to him, net loans and advances between 2013 and 2017 increased at a compound annual growth rate of 16.6 per cent.

He noted that loans to corporate entities and organisations increased by 31.1 per cent and accounted for 97.6 per cent of overall loans disbursed.

Aderoju said in line with the strategic focus of the bank, agriculture and transportation benefitted from the growth in loans as part of the priority sectors of the bank.

The Group Head said other focus areas included health, education and renewable energy.