Segun Agbaje, GTB GMD

The Group Managing Director, GMD, of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, has attributed carelessness on the part of bank customers as the major reason for the increasing cases of Internet banking fraud in the country.

Speaking at a forum in Lagos, Agbaje whose bank is the leading internet banking service provider, said that most of the internet banking frauds recorded in 2016 across the banking sector was a direct result of customers giving out their private banking details.

“We have observed also that most of the fraud we see are really more of individuals exposing their card details to third parties and not much of system compromises,” he said.

Proffering solution on how the internet banking fraud could be effectively checked, Agbaje called on bank customers to be wary of third party interfaces that exposed critical information about their accounts to stem the rising wave of electronic fraud in the banking industry.

The GTBank boss noted that despite worrisome trend, his bank would open up more internet banking option as part of solutions to its often overcrowded banking halls across the country.

“Efforts are being made to increase the service touch points to give customers more exciting banking experience, including ensuring that in no distant time most banking transactions would be done on phones and through the internet from the comfort of customers offices and homes,” he said.

Agbaje also revealed that the bank had already secured banking license from the Tanzanian Central Bank to open a subsidiary in Dares Salem, as part of efforts to grow its offshore footprints to the eastern part of Africa.

He promised that the management would continue to take advantage of profit opportunities wherever necessary in the interest of its stakeholders.

Meanwhile, giving a breakdown of the bank’s performances in the 2016 financial year, Agbaje said it posted gross income of N414.62 billion showing a growth of 37 per cent from N302 billion in 2015, with interest income contributing N262.49 billion of the gross income while its non-interest income grew from 24 per cent in 2015 to 37 per cent in 2016.

But the bank’s impairment charges soared by 426 per cent to N65.29 billion, to dwarf both the increase in interest income and the cost saving from interest expenses with net income after impairment charges dropping by 12 per cent to N130.11 billion at the end of 2016. This means that interest income did not contribute to the profit growth the bank achieved in the 2016 operations.

At another level, loans and advances grew strongly in the year at 16 per cent to N1.59 trillion, doubling the increase of 7 per cent recorded in 2015. Investment assets also grew by more than 34 per cent to stand at over N528 billion in the year. These spurred the increase of 23 per cent in asset base, which amounted to a little over N3 trillion at the end of 2016.

The bank maintained a tight control on operating expenses, which helped to moderate the impact of the huge loan loss expenses and permitted the increase in non-interest income to flow down to the bottom line.

GTB closed the 2016 financial year with a net profit of N131.34 billion, representing a growth of 33 per cent compared to a flat growth in the preceding year.

Earnings per share amounted to N4.67 kobo at the end of 2016 against N3.51 in 2015 as it is proposing a final cash dividend of N2 per share, when added to the interim of 25 kobo it paid at the end of its half year