FIRST Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc shareholders have commended its board of directors for appointing its staff as the new managing director, just as theyÂ pledged to give the new helmsman ,Mr. Steven Onasonya the desired support that would move the bank higher.
The shareholders at a press briefing in Lagos said â€œ We commend the board of FBN for appointing a staff of the bank to manage its affairs, as this would boost the morale of other staff to work harder for the overall interest of stakeholders.
Speaking on behalf of his group, Chairman,Â Advancement for Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (ARNS), Dr. FaroukÂ Umar, said Onasonyaâ€™s appointment shows that the bank reward hard work and excellence.
According to him, â€œWe are going to demonstrate this at our bankâ€™s forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM). We are going to fully support the managing director and commend the board for a job well done. I assure you that the present results will be improved upon because the managing director is not alone we are going to support him.â€â€œWe commend the board of FBN Plc for appointing Mr. Steven Onasonya as the new M D of First Bank. The bankÂ has a way of grooming and appointing the best hands to run its business that is why they will always remain at the top. The man is a chartered accountant and has been with the bank since 1994. We shareholders leaders commend his appointment we are commending them because we have seen how well they are getting it right. We have seen Joseph Sanusi and Lamido Lanusi becoming governors of CBN, Ajekigbe did a fantastic job, shareholder were getting bonuses even when the bank lost a huge some of money to a telecommunication company, â€œhe said.
He added, â€œThat shows the bankâ€™s resilience and we can proudly say today that the best bank in Nigeria right now is FBN. We are not mincing words, the results are there, we are seeing the fundamentals. This year the bank recorded a total asset of N2 trillion, from N1.5 an increase of 31 per cent, this clearly is the largest in the industry. Their deposit has increased from N700 billion to N1.19 trillion this again shows an increase of 70 per cent despite the meltdown. Their gross earnings went up by 40 per cent from N155 billion to N218 billion and their profit before tax increased by about 12 per cent.
With even the provision of N26 billion, they are still paying N1.35 and a dividend of one for six. This shows that the bank to put your money now is FBN. The bank has shock absorber that helps them withstand any situation.â€The shareholders, however, called on the management of the bank to ensure that they conclude the business relation with Ecobank Bank Plc and its parent company ETI.â€œWe have been talking about it in the last two years now, we will like him to conclude that arrangement so that we can leverage on that to further grow the bank.
We are also using this opportunity to call on the bank to recover some of its exposure to margin loans. We want the bank to make effort to acquire some weak banks. We all know that as the situation is now not all banks can continue. They should take advantage of that if it will add value to the bank. We have to be careful so as to avoid the issue of goodwill like we had during the banking consolidation,â€ he said.
The shareholders further urged the bank to continue with its risk management practice, adding that theÂ developments in the banking industry have shown that there is no alternative to good corporate governance.
â€œIf you take a look at their annual report, you will see how much space they devoted to disclose their risk management. This is highly commendable. They did not exceed the required 10 per cent total exposure to different sectors of the economy. Out of their total loans, it was only 7 per cent that was exposed to margin loans. If you look at the telecom sector, they did not lend money to Transcorp that is coursing problems in the banking sector today. As a matter of fact, their total exposure to the telecom sector is just about 5 per cent.â€ Umar noted .