By Goddy Egene
Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, last Friday said the bank was aware of the growing opportunities in the nation’s economy and would take advantage of them to deliver quality services to customer and good returns to shareholders.
Speaking at the 30th annual general meeting (AGM) of the bank in Lagos, Okonkwo said the bank would continue to focus on redesigning systems and processes to enhance service delivery.
He said the bank would deepen cost optimisation initiatives to reduce operating expenses and cost-to-service.
“Clearly, our success in 2017 financial year has set a strong pedestal for sustained growth in revenue. We are optimistic about a favourable operating environment and we look forward to delivering decent set of numbers at the end of 2018 financial year, “Okonkwo said.
In his address to shareholders, Chairman of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ernest Ebi, said that the bank was strategically poised to successfully navigate the business environment in 2018.
Ebi expressed optimism that the expected improvements in the global landscape would trickle down to the domestic economy to consolidate the comforting business climate witnessed towards the end of 2017.
He said the bank recorded gross earnings of N179.9 billion for the year ended December 31,2017, up by 18.3 per cent from N152.02 billion in 2016.
profit after tax soared by 94 per cent to N18.9 billion compared with N9.7 billion in the comparative period of 2016.
The profit before tax also grew by 83.6 per cent to N20.3 billion from N11.0 billion in the preceding year, while profit after tax jumped by 94 per cent from N9.7 billion to N18.9 billion.
Based on the performance the board of directors recommended a dividend of N3.19 billion, which translated to 11 kobo per share. Shareholders at the AGM approved the dividend and commended the board and management for the improved performance.
For instance, Dr. Faruk Umar of Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, lauded the bank for declaring dividend in spite of challenging operating environment.
Umar said that a lot of shareholders panicked when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that banks with low Capital Adequacy Ratio and high non-performing loan would not be allowed to pay dividend.
“For Fidelity Bank to declare dividend showed that it is in the good books of the CBN,” he said.