Shareholders of Fidelity Bank Plc are in for greater returns in 2019 financial year with the lender’s sustained investment in digital innovations that would engender enhanced customer service delivery and open fresh streams of revenue.
Indications to this effect were given in Lagos, Friday by the Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo during the Bank’s 31th Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the audited financial report for the year ended December 31, 2018, was presented to shareholders.
According to Okonkwo, the bank will not relent on efforts to increase the adoption rates and migration of customers to its digital banking platform. “We are investing heavily in digital technologies to drive our retail strategy, reduce cost and consequently improve revenue and returns for our shareholders” he stated.
With 25 percent of the bank’s fee-based income coming from digital banking, the Fidelity boss disclosed that the lender is introducing a digital lending solution and AI-Chatbots to spur further growth in the industry verticals, where it currently operates.
On the overall outlook of the bank, Okonkwo said Fidelity Bank was on track towards breaking in to the league of Tier 1 bank by 2022. “The 2018 financial year marked the beginning of the second phase of the growth aspirations of your Bank and I am happy, we closed the year impressively”, he stated.
Gross earnings in FY2018 increased by 4.8 percent to close at N188.9 billion driven primarily by 22.7 percent growth in earning assets. Total deposit, increased by 26.3 percent to N979.4 billion from N775.3 billion, just as current and domiciliary accounts grew in double digit
In other indices Profit Before Tax soared by 30.6% to N25.1BN, when compared with the 19.2BN it recorded in 2017. Similarly Profit After Tax (PAT) increased by 29.0 percent to N22.9 billion from N17.8 billion in 2017.
Shareholders commended management and staff for growing the fortunes of the bank in the last financial year. They made a plea for better returns in 2019 and unanimously approved the proposed dividend of N3.19 billion, which translates to 11kobo per ordinary share of 50k held by investors at the close of business on April 12, 2019.
Chairman, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Dr. Farouk Umar who lauded the bank for its consistent dividend payout, charged Management to continue to record better financial performances.
Mr. Timothy Adesiyan, President, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSAN) extolled the bank for its impressive showing in digital banking. “Digital banking has shown us increased profitability and progress. Kudos to Fidelity Bank he said.
Whilst commending the management of Fidelity Bank for its participation in the Bank of Industry (BOI) Traders Moni Scheme, he said “we are quite appreciative that the cost of risk has reduced considerably in the bank from 1.5 percent in 2017 to 0.5 percent”.
Speaking during the meeting, Chairman, Board of Directors, Mr. Ernest Ebi assured shareholders that the Board will continue to provide the right leadership at Board level, with focus on governance, risk management and capital preservation. “Every action and everything we have done thus far have been around these areas. The fundamentals are very strong we intend to keep things that way” he said.