By Odunewu Segun
Moody’s Investors Service, in its September Credit Opinion update, has re-affirmed Sterling Bank’s Issuer Credit rating of b2 and the standalone Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) ratings of B3 with a stable outlook.
This is coming at a time when corporate and sovereign ratings of banks were under downward ratings pressure. Specifically, Moody’s cited the Bank’s solid asset quality metrics and provision coverage as well as improvements in the lender’s IT infrastructure and risk management processes, among others.
Recently, Global Credit Ratings (GCR), an international rating agency, also affirmed Sterling Bank’s national long term and short-term credit ratings of BBB and A3 respectively with a stable outlook.
Assessing the Bank’s quality, Lafferty Group, in its Bank Quality Ratings (LBQR), reckoned Sterling Bank to be amongst the top 10 banks in the world, top 3 in Africa (after Capitec and Barclays Africa) and the top Bank in Nigeria.
The Lafferty Group’s approach to Bank ratings involves an evaluation of key quantitative and qualitative criteria such as strategy, culture, customer care, brand promise and financial performance.
Michael Lafferty, Chairman, Lafferty Group had stated that “banks that score well on Lafferty Bank Quality Ratings tend to trade at a premium price to their tangible book value”.
Commenting, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, the outcome of the ratings reflects the Bank’s strong performance and resilience amidst challenging operating conditions, and validates the Bank’s business models.
It would be recalled that the Bank recently raised additional N8billion through a debt issuance, which is part of the Bank’s approved programme for tier 2 capital in the sum of N35billion. This has further strengthened the Bank’s capital adequacy, which is above the required regulatory threshold.