SHAREHOLDERS of Access Bank Plc, yesterday approved a total dividend of N14.463 billion declared by the bank for the financial year ended December 31, 2018.
The shareholders gave the approval at the bank’s 30th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos on Thursday.
The dividend translated to 25 kobos final dividend and 25 kobos interim dividend paid earlier in the year to its shareholders, making a total dividend paid out for the period to be 50 kobos per share.
Shareholders at the meeting commended the board and management for sustaining dividend payout policy, noting that its merger with Diamond bank has brought a smile on the faces of shareholders of both banks.
National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sony Nwosu who spoke on behalf of other shareholders at the meeting applauded the board for a successful merger with Diamond.
He frowns over the charges imposed on banks by Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and other regulators, saying it has become a major concern to investors in recent times.
He expressed the need for shareholders to organise themselves in such a way that they can direct their complaint to the government and regulators on the issues affecting banking business in the country.
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Speaking to shareholders, the chairman of Access Bank Mosun Belo-Olusoga said that despite the unfavourable market condition, Access Bank delivered a strong performance, demonstrating an effective strategy backed by strong governance.
She stated that “In January 2018, we began the implementation of another five-year strategy. A key aspect of our intent over the next five years is to build a large diversified bank, by consolidating our wholesale franchise and embedding ourselves firmly in the retail market.”
She also noted that the bank’s merger with Diamond Bank Plc, will create the required scale, customer base and support our desire to achieve a wider reach across the continent.
According to Belo-Olusoga, the combination will provide us with an increased physical presence and payment capabilities in relevant countries.
“The combination will significantly fast track the achievement of a number of our strategic intents in the short term. It provides us with a competitive advantage that will withstand the realities of market uncertainties while ensuring sustainable revenue in the years ahead.”
Also, the Group managing director/ chief executive officer of Access Bank, Hebert Wigwe said that money deducted from the banks’ profit was designed specifically to support the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and other sectors in an effort to boost the economic development of the country.
Wigwe said that the bank began implementation of its five-year strategy with a focus on retail banking growth, adding that the quarterly contribution of the segment to group profits during the year assured that the strategies and investments were prudent.
He added that “Our ongoing collective efforts to deliver exemplary value will be paramount in guaranteeing our profitability and the long-term sustainability of our business.”
The Group recorded a profit before tax of N103.2 billion for the year. Total assets grew by 21 per cent from N4.1 trillion in 2017 to N4.95 trillion in 2018. Deposits also grew by 14 per cent from N225 trillion in 2017 to N2.56 trillion in 2018. Shareholders’ equity, however, fell by four per cent from N511 billion in 2017 to N491 billion in 2018, reflecting the impact of the implementation of IFRS 9 on retained earnings.