Fidelity Bank Plc has that it will continue to take measures that will ensure the safety of customers, staff and other stakeholders during this period. This reassurance was given on Thursday during the bank’s 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos.
Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting, Chairman, Board of Directors of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ernest Ebi said the bank “remains committed to building a sustainable business, even in the midst of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic”. Mr. Ebi, who was a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), revealed that the Board, in line with its oversight responsibilities, has been meeting virtually, to strategize on new opportunity areas to cushion the impact of the pandemic and to sustain the growth trajectory of the bank in recent years.
These views were also affirmed by Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo who said Fidelity Bank’s greatest strength its ability to adapt to change. According to him, the bank would explore new prospects that are opening up in the retail market, continue to focus on customer-centricity, innovation and digitization, whilst keeping its eye on governance, risk and liquidity. “We place a high premium on risk management and will continue to review our risk acceptance criteria in reaction to new market realities” he assured.
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The meeting which was held by proxy, in compliance with the Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) issued guidelines on holding AGMs within the period, had in attendance very few shareholders, on account of social distancing and restriction of movement in Lagos as a result of COVID-19 preventive and precautionary measures. Others joined remotely via live streaming.
The shareholders who spoke on the occasion, gave kudos to the Board and management for the 2019 performance which saw the bank delivering double-digit growth across key performance indices. Gross Earnings grew by 14. percent to N215.5 billion, driven by a 15.8 percent growth in interest and similar income. The bank’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) rose by 21percent from N25.1 billion in 2018 to N30.4 billion in 2019.
The shareholders unanimously endorsed the payment of a cash dividend of 20 kobo per share, which translates to N5.793 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019. Mr. Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria applauded the dividend growth from 11kobo paid in 2018 to 20 kobo in 2019. “From all the indices, this is a superlative performance. The achievement of over N30 billion in profits is indeed worthy of commendation”, Okezie stated.
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Chief Timothy Adesiyan, President of the Nigerian Shareholders’ Solidarity Association commended the improvements particularly in interest income, Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), Liquidity Ratio, Profit After Tax and Gross Earnings. Whilst lauding the bank for its digitization programme, he expressed optimism that the bank is truly positioned to take advantage of new and emergent opportunities on account of the bank’s comprehensive upgrade of its technology architecture.
Meanwhile Fidelity Bank has begun the 2020 financial year on a positive note with the announcement of its unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2020. Gross Earnings for the first quarter of the year, grew by 5.7 percent to N51.2 billion from N48.4 billion in the previous year, whilst Profit before Tax (PBT) stood at N6.6 billion representing a marginal drop from N6.7 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019. Shareholders’ Funds the other hand grew by 3.6 percent from N234 billion in 2019 to N242 billion in the first quarter of 2020.