By Babajide Komolafe
â€¦declares N33.6bn dividend
First Bank Nigeria PLC has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reverse the directive that banks should restrict deployment of ATMs to their branches, even as it declared N33.6 billion dividend for the operating year ending March 31st 2009.
It would be recalled that the CBN in April banned offsite deployment of ATMs, and directed banks to redeploy their offsite ATMs (those outside their branches) on or before August 31st 2009.
Speaking at the 40th Annual General Meeting of the bank held in Abuja yesterday, Managing Director/Chief Executive, First Bank Nigeria, Mr, Stephen Onasanya, said that the bank does not believe in the directive on offsite deployment of ATMs and have written to the CBNÂ explain its position.
He said the deployment of ATMs is a strategy to the bank’s quest to decongest its banking halls and that is why it embarked on massive deployment of ATMs.
“We belong to the ATM consortium and we are negotiating with the company to take over the management of our offsite ATMs. But we appeal to you shareholders to put pressure on the authorities to reconsider the decision on offsite deployment of ATMs.”
Meanwhile, shareholders of the bank have approved dividend payment of N33.6 billion for the year ending March 31st 2009.Â Â This represents an increase of 42 per cent when compare with the N23.9 billion declared in the previous operating year, and it translates to N1.35 per share.Â TheÂ dividend payout was occasioned by the marked improvement in the bankâ€™s performance indices for the year under review.
Chairman of the bank, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, said that improved performance recorded by the bank withstood the unprecedented conditions created by the global economic meltdown during the review period.
â€œThe group achieved revenue growth of 40 per cent and total asset growth of 31.5 per centâ€
The bankâ€™s revenue for the year rose to N218.3 billion from N155.7 billion in the previous year, while total assets rose to N2 trillion from N1.5 trillion.
Despite the global financial crisis the public confidence in the bank soared as its deposit shot up by 70.6 per cent to N1.2 trillion from N700 billion.
Profitability as measured by profit on ordinary activities before taxation rose by 12.3 per cent to N53.8 billion from N47.9 billion.
After-tax profit however declined by 65.7 per cent due to exceptional charge (loan loss provision) of N26 billion.