The lull in the capital market notwithstanding, First Bank of Nigeria Plc has paid a N24 billion dividend at N1.20k per share, for the financial year ended March 31, 2008. This, the bank believes, is to reaffirm investors’ confidence in its ability to create value and keep faith with its promise to shareholders.
The total dividend payout, the largest in the history of Nigeria's banking industry, is almost enough to get a new banking licence – going by the N25 billion minimum shareholders’ funds requirement.
The bank has also declared a bonus of one share for every four shares previously held before the close of the shareholders’ register on August 08, 2008. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held yesterday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, shareholders poured accolades on the bank while expressing their satisfaction with the “continued impressive performance”.
The bank's total assets and contingents grew by 65.8 per cent to over N2 trillion, while profit before tax grew by 85 per cent to N48 billion. The Annual Report and Accounts presented at the AGM, in line with the bank’s industry defining posture on corporate governance, contained a detailed and explicit dedicated section on risk management disclosure, described as unprecedented in this market. In terms of shareholders’ funds, FirstBank also consolidated its leadership position in the industry with an increase of N272.1 billion or 325.2 per cent from N83.63 billion to N355.63billion, which is higher than the shareholders’ funds of all the 89 pre-consolidation banks put together.
This stellar performance, according to the bank, is driven by an all-inclusive understanding of the growing customer service realities, and the elimination of impediments to effective service delivery through continued network expansion, product development, and strengthening of its global footprint.
Meanwhile, the Board of the Bank has approved the appointment of Ms. Ibiai Ajumogobia, a seasoned human resources technocrat, to its board, effectively replacing the eminent academic, Dr. Udo Udo Aka (MON). This is coming barely two weeks after the announcement of Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Executive Director, Risk and Management Control, as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive to take over from Mr. Jacobs Moyo Ajekigbe, the incumbent MD/CEO who is retiring from the Bank after 31 years of services to the Bank.
The Chairman of the Bank, Alhaji Umaru A. Mutallab (CON), formally introduced Ajumogobia and Sanusi to shareholders at the AGM.
Ajumogobia is a Human Resources Management and Training Consultant with over 18 years of core Hr experience at the Senior management level in the large corporate private sector. With a background in Law and Interior Design, she worked first in the Rivers State Ministry of Justice and subsequently in the Federal Ministry of Justice before she joined the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), where she moved through a range of HR roles, gaining extensive experience of Recruitment, Training Needs Analysis (TNA), Manpower Planning and Development, Policy Development and Employee Relations as well as Change Facilitation and HR Project Management. Whilst in Shell, Ms. Ajumogobia became a certified Change Facilitator, and was the company's Change Focal Point in the Eastern Division.
After 12 years with Shell, she left to join a major international banking institution – Citibank Nigeria, a subsidiary of Citigroup. She was the Country Head of Human Resources covering Nigeria and overseeing the Rep Office in Ghana. She stayed with Citi for just over four years and left the organisation in December 2003. In June 2004, she incorporated The Daisy Management Centre Limited and opened formally for business in December 2004. A private 12-Room Residential Management and Training Centre, The Daisy offers facilities for training, conferences, seminars and meetings, as well as Business Class guest rooms for business guests and residential programmes.
Ms. Ajumogobia recently joined the Team-building network in the United Kingdom and is an accredited team-trainer, certified to use the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile. She is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and recently completed the Management Development Accreditation Programme with the Centre for Management Development (CMD) in Lagos.
Many financial analysts see the past year as “industry-defining and revolutionary” for the bank as it continues to set the pace in the industry with landmark initiatives which re-affirms its leading position in the financial services industry in particular and the nation in general. For instance, in February this year, the Bank made history on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), when its market capitalisation closed at N1,039,254,191,332.50k, thus making it the first Nigerian financial institution, and indeed, the first quoted company in Nigeria, to hit the N1 trillion mark. In keeping with its strategic intent of being a global player, the bank inaugurated its FBN Bank UK Paris Branch, thus making it the first Nigerian bank to have a presence in mainland Europe (that is, outside the United Kingdom). As part of its pioneering initiatives, the bank also launched a self-service bureau de change product, the FOREX ATM, essentially for converting foreign currency to naira, the first of its kind in the Nigerian financial services industry.
Also, in recognition of recent adverse global trends in the agricultural sector and the need for timely intervention to safeguard the food security of the country for national development, FirstBank single-handedly sponsored and co-initiated along with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and Agro-Nigeria the International Conference on Food Security. The bank is engaging the executive and legislative arms of the Federal Government with the output of the deliberations for policy formulation. In a statement by the bank’s Head, Corporate Planning & Group Coordination, Mr. H. O. Bakare, FirstBank says it believes “these various initiatives and the bank’s strategic approach to running its business have facilitated its continued growth and ability to delight shareholders”. The changes in the Board and the continuous re-invention fit perfectly into ensuring that FirstBank remains dependably dynamic as well as maintaining leadership in the increasing challenging operating environment, he added.
Courtesy... THISDAY Newspaper