The bank stated this in its unaudited result submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos.
It said the profit before tax indicated an increase of 23 per cent compared to N9.5 billion in the corresponding period of 2017.
The bank said gross earnings during the period rose from ₦72.1 billion in 2017 to ₦83.3 billion, driven by a 10 per cent increase in interest income and 37 per cent increase in non-interest income.
According to the bank, interest income grew from ₦56.6 billion in 2017 to ₦62.2 billion, just as net interest income before impairment went up from ₦30.1billion in 2017 to ₦34.4 billion in the review period.
It noted that net interest income was driven by an improvement in net interest margins from 7.9 per cent to 8.2 per cent on the back of lower cost of funds.
Also, non-interest income appreciated from ₦15.4 billion in the first half of 2017 to ₦21.1 billion as at review period; driven by enhanced treasury trading income, recoveries and 31 per cent growth in alternate channel revenues.
Commenting on the results, Emeka Emuwa, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer attributed the growth to efficiency and productivity drive.
“Across all our business lines, we witnessed strong underlying performance, translating into improved earnings.
We will continue to focus on the recovery of non-performing loans.
“With the resolution in Q2 2018 of the large real estate exposure which was impaired in December 2017, the Group NPL ratio is down to 10.8 per cent from 14.9 per cent at March 31 2018 and 19.8 per cent at Dec. 31, 2017,” he added.
Mr Emuwa said the group would continue to demonstrate its ability to deliver strong results notwithstanding a competitive and challenging operating environment.
“In the second half of the year, we will continue to focus on productivity, leveraging our enhanced platform to deliver best-in-class services to our customers,” he said.
Mr Emuwa added that the bank would take advantage of targeted opportunities across its business lines and geographies.
Also, Oyinkan Adewale, the bank’s Chief Financial Officer, said the group’s retained earnings moved from negative to positive position for the first time since 2012.
She said this eliminated a major technical impediment to the payment of dividends.
Mrs Adewale said the group’s net interest margins improved from 7.9 per cent in the half year of 2017 to 8.2 per cent during the period under review.