The shareholders of Fidelity Bank Plc have unanimously endorsed the payment of a cash dividend of 22 kobo per share to shareholders whose names appear on the Register of Members at the close of business on April 16.
This translates to a dividend yield of 9.2 per cent making it the fourth most rewarding bank to investors in the capital market.
This was announced at the 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the weekend in Lagos.
Shareholders, who spoke at the event praised the Board of Directors and the management team for the 38.7 per cent increase in total customer deposits, which rose from N1.225 trillion in 2019 financial year to N1.699 trillion and was driven by strong double-digit growth in both local and foreign currency deposits.
Chairman, Fidelity Bank, Mustapha Chike-Obi, reassured shareholders that the board and management of the bank would maintain the high corporate governance standards synonymous with Fidelity Bank and also ensure the bank continued in its growth trajectory in the years ahead.
“We will continue to strengthen our enterprise risk management capabilities to ensure the sustainability of our business, while modelling our governance practices to align with international best practice”, said Chike-Obi.
The bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, echoed the chairman’s sentiments, stating that the bank’s financial performance for the period reflected the resilience of its business model in a challenging operating environment.
Mrs. Ikpe said local currency deposits grew by 49.6 per cent to N1.400 trillion and constitutes 82.5 per cent of total customer deposits while foreign currency deposits grew by 3.3 percent to N298.2 billion and accounts for 17.5 per cent of total deposits.
On the strategy for the financial year, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe, said: “We will continue to focus on redesigning our systems and processes to enhance service delivery, deepen our cost optimisation initiatives to reduce operating expenses, and enhance our overall risk monitoring capabilities to ensure both internal and external risks are identified and mitigated. Our growth aspirations will be sustained while we continue to identify new opportunities in the new normal.”
The shareholders expressed their continued confidence in the bank for its 2020 performance which saw a 50.9 percent increase in core operating profit to N44.9 billion. The share price also rallied 22.9 per cent, outperforming the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Index, which only gained 10.1 percent. According to Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe, the Bank showed “strong resilience to the adversities the global economy witnessed in 2020”.
President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigeria Shareholders, Farouk Umar, commended the bank for posting encouraging results, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Also, the National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mrs Bisi Bakare, commended the bank for declaring dividend despite the unfriendly economic environment and the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. Bakare who welcomed Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe and Mr. Chike- Obi, urged them to sustain the growth and ensure higher dividend in the years ahead.