Fidelity Bank has approved payment of a cash dividend of 22 kobo per share to all shareholders whose names appeared on the membership register at the close of business on April 16, 2021.
The bank said in a statement that the decision which was announced at the 33rd annual general meeting of the bank held recently in Lagos was unanimously endorsed by shareholders.
It explained that the 22k approval translates into a dividend yield of 9.2 per cent, making it the 4th most rewarding bank to investors in the Nigerian capital market.
The bank also said total customer deposits increased by 38.7 per cent from N1,225.2 billion in 2019 financial year to N1.699.0 billion in 2020.
Addressing the shareholders, the managing director and chief executive officer, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said the bank showed “strong resilience to the adversities the global economy witnessed in 2020.”
She stressed that the bank’s financial performance for the period reflected the resilience of its business model in a challenging operating environment.
She disclosed that local currency deposits grew by 49.6 per cent to N1,400.8 billion and constitutes 82.5 per cent of total customer deposits while foreign currency deposits grew by 3.3 percent to N298.2 billion and now accounts for 17.5 per cent of total deposits.
She further said the bank’s retail banking push continued to deliver impressive results as total savings deposits increased by 54.2 percent to N424.4 billion, making it the 8th consecutive year of recording double-digit growth in savings deposits.
“Total savings deposits now account for about 25.0 per cent of total deposits, an attestation of the Bank’s increasing market share in the retail market segment.
“We will continue to focus on redesigning our systems and processes to enhance service delivery, deepen our cost optimization 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.
“On the back of the evolving dynamics in the economy, we will continue to increase the adoption and migration of customers to our digital platforms and increase our retail banking market share through innovative products and services,” she said.
The managing director thanked the shareholders and the board for their continued confidence in the management team and specially appreciated the bank’s customers for their patronage and loyalty.
In his remarks, chairman of the board, Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, reassured shareholders that the board and management teams would maintain the high corporate governance standard 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 modeling our governance practices to align with international best practice,” he said.
Also speaking, the president of Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Dr Farouk Umar, commended the bank for posting encouraging performance in 2020 despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Umar appreciated the bank for paying dividend the same day of the annual general meeting unlike their peers in the industry that pay dividends a day after the meeting.
For her part, the national coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders’’ Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Bisi Bakare, commended the bank for declaring dividend in spite of unfriendly economic environment and the COVID-19 pandemic challenges.
She urged Onyeali-Ikpe and Chike- Obi to sustain the growth and ensure higher dividend in the years ahead.
The statement also quoted the shareholders as expressing their continued confidence in the bank for its 2020 performance which saw a 50.9 per cent 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 per cent.
Fidelity Bank began the year on a positive note having recorded a strong financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, posting appreciable growth in profit for the period ended March 31, 2021.
Details of the unaudited results showed that its profit before tax (PBT) grew by 53.9 per cent from N6.6 billion in the corresponding period in 2020 to N10.1 billion in the period under review. Similarly, net revenue in the period increased by 13.4 per cent from N30.3 billion in the first quarter (Q1) 2020, to N34.4 billion at the end of March 2021. The bank also recorded growth in other performance indices.