Okonkwo Resumes as Fidelity Bank CEO, Balarabe Now DMD



Obinna Chima

Following the resumption of the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo today, Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Balarabe who held fort in Okonkwo’s absence, has been appointed as the Deputy Managing Director of the Bank, subject to regulatory approval.

Balarabe was temporarily appointed acting managing director of the bank, while Okonkwo was being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for accepting lodgements running into millions of dollars from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. Since the beginning of investigation launched by the commission to establish any complicity, Fidelity Bank has maintained that the lodgements were duly reported to the regulatory authorities as required under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act and Money Laundering Act.

A statement from the bank yesterday confirmed Okonkwo’s reinstatement, adding that Balarabe is an erudite banker with over 24 years’ experience in corporate, commercial and retail banking.

“He has worked in various capacities in Nigeria’s financial services industry where he acquired strong strategic management, leadership and people skills,” Fidelity Bank added.

Balarabe holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom as well as Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Finance from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

He has attended several executive education programmes at the Columbia University Business School, INSEAD; Said Business School, University of Oxford; and Kellogg School of Management, amongst others.

A licensed member of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) since 1992, Balarabe also served as the Executive Director of Oceanic Bank Plc, pursuant to his appointment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He was also a General Manager in United Bank for Africa (UBA) and had been the General Manager & Chief Executive of Newdevco Finance Services Company Limited before his appointment to the board of Fidelity Bank in April 2012.

According to the full year audited results of the bank for December ending 2015, its gross earnings grew from N136.9 billion in 2014 to N146.9 billion in 2015. Profit before tax (PBT) declined by 9.6 per cent to N14.0 billion from N15.5 billion in 2014, while Profit After Tax (PAT) settled at N13.9 billion compared with N13.8 billion the previous year.

Hence, the directors recommended a dividend of N4.6 billion, thus maintaining a tradition of consistent dividend payout for the past six years.

Total equity increased by six per cent to N183.5 billion from N173.1 billion in 2015 full year, net operating income stood at N83.9 billion, a moderate 12.5 per cent rise from N74.6 billion in 2014 full year, growing the major income lines across the quarters.