Thriving local bank, Fidelity Limited has held its 2019 Annual General Meeting where it emerged the bank paid GHc32.3 million total dividends to its shareholders at GHc1.28 dividend per share.
Among other issues discussed at the meet at the Kempinski Hotel, ratification of appointment of director; Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, reelection of director; Emmanuel Barima Manu, the approval of Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants Ltd. as auditors of the bank in place of Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
According to Chairman; Edward Efah despite the turbulence and uncertainties encountered in the previous year in the banking sector, the bank recorded an end-of-year profit before tax of GHc242 million representing growth from the GHc135 million recorded in 2017 increasing its stated capital from GHc264 million to GHc404 million.
Touching on why the bank was a tier one bank, he said Fidelity Bank was the 2017 CIMG Bank of the Year, emerged Best Local Bank in Ghana in 2017 and the Best Local Investment Bank in Ghana in 2017 conferred by EMEA Finance adding the bank was appointed as Joint Lead Manager and Bookrunner for the GHc10 billion ESLA bond programme, the largest local currency corporate bond issuance in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For 2018, Fidelity Bank, he stated recorded a 30 percent growth in total assets moving from GHc5.4 billion in 2017 to a little over GHc7.0 billion.
“Operating income increased to GHc690 million from GHc523 million in 2017; representing a 32 percent growth. The bank also recorded a 79 percent increase in profit before tax of GHc242 million in 2018 compared to GHc135 million for 2017 due to lower provisioning , lower funding costs, improved interest margins, amongst others,” Mr. Efah submitted.
The deposit base of the bank also increased by 13 percent to GHc4.5 billion buoyed by innovative deposit mobilization campaigns such as the Switch & Smile as well as through transaction floats.
Managing Director, Julian Opuni noted the bank raised its stated minimum capital to GHc400 million in record time ahead of the Bank of Ghana’s December 31, 2018 deadline. He noted despite the turbulence in the financial system last year, the bank emerged better capitalized.
Mr. Opuni reported to shareholders that “the bank closed the year with a balance sheet size of GHc7.02 billion, up by 30 percent from the 2017 asset position of GHc5.38 billion. The growth in the balance sheet comprises of a 38 percent increase in the loan book to GHc1.42 billion, a 37 percent increase in investment securities to GHc3.47 billion and a 14 percent increase in cash and cash equivalents to GHc1.76 billion.”
He noted growth was largely funded by a GHc500 million increase in deposits from banks and other financial institutions representing a 13 percent growth, a 53 percent increase in stated capital. Total deposits and borrowings, he said also reached GHc4.46 billion and GHc1.73 billion respectively at the end of 2018, the total of which represents 90 percent of the Bank’s total liabilities.
“The year closed with significant improvements in our performance over the 2017 financial results. Net interest income grew by 23 percent (2017: 15 percent) from GHc408 million in 2017 to GHc501 million in 2018 whilst net fee and commission income also rose by 56 percent (2017: 25 percent) to end 2018 at GHc134 million.”
This he said contributed to a 32 percent (2017: 13 percent) increase in operating income from GHc523 million in 2017 to GHc690 million in 2018.
According to Mr. Opuni, the year ended with a 79 percent increase in profit before tax to GHc242 million and an 82 percent increase in profit after tax to GHc164 million.
In 2018, Fidelity acknowledged a need for an increased digital banking presence by opening a fully digital branch on the Oxford Street at Osu affording customers the ability to process a variety of transactions with minimal to no human interaction.
Again Financial and Capital Markets Division was merged under one directorship to consolidate visions and gains all geared towards becoming a top 3 bank in Ghana by 2021.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com