Polaris Bank Managing Director/CEO, Tokunbo Abiru has said the Bank would leverage on its investment in cutting-edge information technology to harness emerging opportunities and mitigate the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business.
Against the backdrop of the impressive financials of the Bank in 2019, the CEO noted in a special media interview held over the weekend that investment in technology infrastructure, comprehensive corporate transformation and a keen focus on customer experience would continue to give the Bank comparative advantage in the Nigerian financial services sector.
Abiru disclosed that the 2019 performance of the Bank was the result of a corporate transformation that started in September 2018 to help the Bank build a robust foundation for capital preservation and sustainable profitability.
According to him, while the Coronavirus pandemic would undoubtedly impact all economies and sectors, including Nigeria, Polaris Bank’s strong business focus, organizational efficiency, innovation and digitization will provide the winning edge against the emerging disruptions.
He also noted that Polaris Bank’s retail customer segments and commercial businesses will remain thriving and competitive, ensuring that the Bank continues to harness the value of its investments.
“The key drivers of the outcome as shown in the 2019 results were strong earnings from interest and non- interest income as well as through operational efficiency via cost containment, all resulting in a decent cost to income ratio. These measures are key initiatives of our on-going transformation programme,” Abiru said.
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, he noted that the COVID1-19 would adversely impact businesses both locally and globally, with credit quality being challenged, business market size already shrinking, and inflationary pressures mounting. He further explained that while no business can hardly outperform the environment where it operates, Polaris Bank will seek ways to maximize all available income sources; while also seeking ingenious means of containing the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
On the impact of technology on banking, Mr. Abiru outlined that the future of banking, like other sectors of the economy, will continue to be shaped by technology. “Just look around you, is there any area of our lives that technology is not reshaping? Why should banking be an exception? More so, if you look at the nature of our business, it lends itself to digital adaptations more than other areas of our lives. The world is a global village; just look at what is happening elsewhere, and you know it is only a matter of when will it catch up with you and not if. So, it is not so much of what I believe, it’s where the world is evidently heading,” Abiru said.
He reiterated that the vision of Polaris Bank remains to be a top, innovative and digital-led retail bank, a preferred partner that provides superior financial solutions to its customers and one that is not afraid to be different from the pack. “The Bank is currently on a corporate transformation journey, which focuses on five key pillars: process, technology, business strategy, brand, and culture alignment. With regards to technology, we have concluded the first phase of our I.T platform refresh to world-class servers and data centres, we are strengthening our cyber-security and network capacity, we have upgraded all our digital channels with robust offerings across mobile banking, internet banking, USSD, POS, ATMs, including agency banking etc. As we reposition our I.T infrastructure to world-class standards, we are implementing a robust digital transformation to actualise our vision of making Polaris a truly digital bank that makes banking more convenient with customised , value-adding product offerings,”
The CEO noted that with all the fundamentals competing well with its industry peers and above the regulatory minimum, Polaris Bank now stands on firmer ground with better margins, lower cost of operations for good returns to stakeholders. He noted that the successful turnaround of Polaris Bank has made it a classic testimony of the turnaround of a troubled bank through a regulator-induced intervention noting that from all indications, the future of the Bank is now very bright as evidenced by the improved prudential ratios.
Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.