The amount claimed by Access Bank Plc , a tier 1 lender, as its travel expenses in its half year 2020 report has continued to generate an uneasy calm among analysts and other stakeholders .
A top financial firm , Proshare Nigeria , in its analysis of the bank’s half year report raised doubt on a bogus N4.308 billions which was hardly different from the amount expended in the corresponding period of 2019 which stood at N4.309 billions when there was no restriction on travels and movements. Proshare Nigeria considered this unusual during the period of international flights suspension and domestic interstate restrictions. The financial firm warned Access Bank to desist from questionable expenses.
“The bank will need to address the rampant operating costs in months ahead as the pain of bleeding cash on travels may draw the ire of shareholders by the year end”, the firm declared.
Moreover, the firm noted Access Bank customers experience is also another weakness point that needed urgent attention. According to the firm the ‘ bank will need to upgrade its consumer journey experience and pull the stops in jumping the consumers to the higher level of satisfactions”
The management inability to control costs effectively wrecked havoc on Access Bank both in the financial year 2019 and the first half of 2020 . This was evidently noticeable in its margins . Its pre tax margin was dragged down from 22.5 percent in the first half of 2019 to 18.7 percent. It also , negatively influenced its net income margin from 19 percent in June ,2019 to 15.4 percent in the corresponding period of 2020 . Even its ability to convert assets and equity to profit were heavily inhibited . The bank Returns on Average Equity crashed to 19 percent from 24 percent and the Return on Average Assets from 2.2 percent to 1.6 percent. The bank’s sore point was its cost to income ratio. Cost to Income ratio skidded upwards to 65.8 % from 61 .0 % of the corresponding period last year .This translates to spending 66 kobo to get N1 compared to GT Bank 43 percent cost to income ratio in the same period .Analysis of its book during the period under review revealed the palaver was driven by 50 percent increase in its operating expenses . Major drivers of the operating expenses were 86.4 % year on year increase in in outsourcing cost from N6.112 in 2019 to N11.394 billions in 2020 half year result and 56 % increase in the AMCON charges to N35 billions as well as increase in IT and Business expenses to N12.091 billions to N6.329 billions.