Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe: Executing the Next Growth Phase for Fidelity Bank

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, a position she attained by sheer dint of hardwork and experience garnered over three decades of being in the banking industry. For the Honorary Senior Member of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, her key derivative, alongside the management team, has been to consolidate on the already laid foundation and track record of performance, to execute the next growth phase of the bank. Recently, her disciplined execution of work strategy across board paid off with superior wins for all, especially the shareholders, as the bank recorded 35.7 per cent growth in PBT to N38.1bn and proposed dividend of 35 kobo per share for the 12 months which ended on December 31, 2021. Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that there is no stopping this amazon as she continuously breaks the bias in consolidating the gains of the bank

When Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe assumed work as the fourth Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc. on January 1, 2021, she also made history as the first female to occupy the position since the inception of the bank in 1988.

Upon assumption of duty after she took over from the erstwhile MD/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo who retired on December 31, 2020, she had assured customers that the bank “under her leadership will consolidate on the already laid foundation and track record of performance, to execute the next growth phase”.


Operating all over Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and various digital banking channels, 

Fidelity Bank Plc provides outstanding online, personal banking, SME Banking, corporate, investment, agric and private banking services to its teeming customers.

Built on the ethos of “Integrity” the moto of the bank is “We keep our Word”, a spin off of the name of the bank. 

Known as the most caring, trusted, and respected source of financial guidance and solutions in the communities, Onyeali-Ikpe has sustained this ethos, with the result being more dividends for the bank and its teeming consumers.


The bank is focused on select niche corporate banking sectors, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) 

and has rapidly implemented a digital-led retail banking strategy which led to over 300 per cent growth in savings deposits in the last six years, 56.0 per cent customer enrollment on its flagship 

mobile / internet banking products and 90.0 per cent of customer-induced transactions now done on its digital banking platforms.

Fidelity began operations in 1988, as a merchant bank but converted to commercial banking in 1999 and then became a universal bank in February 2001. Fidelity Bank is today ranked 

the 6th largest Nigerian Bank, with presence in every commercial hub and key business centres in Nigeria. 

The bank is led by a stable, experienced, and highly regarded management team. The team has built the bank on sound corporate governance with robust enterprise-risk management at the core of the bank’s operations. 

It has also voluntarily subjected itself to the NGX Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) and compliance.

Growth Trajectory 

Under her watch, Fidelity Bank Plc announced a 35.7 per cent growth in PBT to N38.1bn and proposed dividend of 35 kobo per share for the 12 months which ended on December 31, 2021.

The Audited Financial Statements for the 12 months showed a growth trajectory across board, which underscored an exponential explosion.

Key Ratios

Some of the key ratios recorded was the 

Return on Avg. Equity (RoAE) which stood at 12.5 per cent compared to 10.5 per cent in 2020FY. Also, Net Interest Margin (NIM) was 4.7 per cent compared to 6.3 per cent in 2020FY; Cost of Risk (CoR) was 0.5 per cent compared to 1.4 per cent in 2020FY; Cost to Income Ratio (CIR) at 64.9 per cent compared to 65.1 per cent in 2020FY; Non-performing Loans Ratio (NPL) at 2.9 per cent  compared to 3.8 per cent in 2020FY; and 

Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 20.1 per cent compared to 18.2 per cent in 2020FY. 

Disciplined Execution

For the MD/CEO, these wins did not come by chance but by a disciplined execution of their work strategy across board, adding that it paid off with superior wins for all, especially the shareholders.

Commenting on the results, Onyeali-Ikpe enthused that they closed the financial year with strong double-digit growth in profit and across key balance-sheet lines, “which reflects the disciplined execution of our strategy and the

capacity to deliver superior returns to shareholders.

“Our profit before tax grew by 35.7 per cent to N38.1bn from N28.1bn in 2020FY, which translates to an increase in RoAE to 12.5 per cent from 10.5 per cent in 2020FY. Gross Earnings increased by 21.6 per cent YoY (23.2 per cent QoQ) to N250.8bn driven by a combination of 60.3 per cent growth in non-interest revenue (NIR) and 15.2 per cent increase in interest and similar income. 

“The growth in NIR reflects the significant increase in customer transactions resulting in 84.9 per cent growth in trade income, 48.1 per cent in account maintenance charge, and 47.2 per cent increase in digital banking income etc.

“Digital Banking gained further traction driven by new initiatives in our retail business and the enhancement of existing digital banking products. We now have 56.0 per cent of our customers enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and 90.0 per cent of total customer-induced transactions done on digital platforms with digital banking business contributing 27.6 per cent to net fee income.

“Net Interest Margin came in at 4.7 per cent from 6.3 per cent in 2020FY, as average funding cost inch up to 4.2 per cent from 3.6 per cent in 2020FY while average yield on government securities remain low. In absolute terms, total interest and similar income increased by N26.8bn while total interest expenses increased by N36.1bn, leading to N9.2bn decline in net interest income.

“Total Deposits increased by 19.2 per cent to N2,024.8bn from N1,699.0bn in 2020FY, in line with our guidance for 2021FY. The increase was driven by double-digit growth across all product lines (Demand | Savings | Tenor). Local currency deposits grew by 16.0 per cent and accounts for 80.3 per cent of total deposits while foreign currency deposits increased by 33.9 per cent and accounts for 19.7 per cent of total deposits from 17.5 per cent in 2020FY.

“Net Risk Assets increased by 25.1 per cent to N1,658.4bn from N1,326.1bn in 2020FY. However, the combination of on-lending facilities and the impact of foreign currency rate change was 

responsible for 31.7 per cent of the absolute growth in loan book . Non-performing loans (NPL) ratio dropped to 2.9 per cent from 3.8 per cent in 2020FY, which led to a decline in cost of risk to 0.5 per cent from 1.4 per centin 2020FY.

“Other Regulatory Ratios are above the required thresholds with liquidity ratio at 40.4 per cent and capital adequacy ratio (CAR) at 20.1 per cent. We have commenced the rendition of Basel III returns under the parallel implementation guideline (Basel II & III) as required by the CBN. 

“We remain well above the minimum requirement. We are committed to achieving the long-term strategic objectives of Fidelity Bank while we look forward to sustaining the current performance trend and delivering another strong set of results for the 2022FY.”


For the uninitiated, Onyeali-Ikpe boasts of a wide range of experience. She was formerly the Executive Director, Lagos and South West Directorate of the bank and has been an integral part of management in the last six years.

She joined the bank in 2015 and spearheaded the transformation of the Directorate, leading it to profitability and sustained its impressive year-on-year growth across key performance metrics, including contributing over 28 per cent of the bank’s PBT, Deposits and Loans.

She is vastly experienced and has spent over 30 years working across various banks including Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Citizens International Bank/Enterprise Bank, where she held several management positions in Legal, Treasury, Investment Banking, Retail/Commercial Banking and Corporate Banking.

As an Executive Director at legacy Enterprise Bank Plc, she received formal commendation from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), as a member of the management team that successfully turned around Enterprise Bank Plc.

She holds Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Kings College, London; and has attended executive training programmes at notable global institutions including Harvard Business School; The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania; INSEAD School of Business; Chicago Booth School of Business; London Business School and IMD.

She is also an Honorary Senior Member (HCIB) of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Related Articles