Shareholders and customers of First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FirstBank) have continued to laud it for its impressive performance in the year ended March 31, 2009.
At the pre-AGM luncheon in Lagos as a build-up to the annual general meeting holding this week in Abuja, several stakeholders expressed confidence in the strength of the bank, saying that for it to pay N33.6 billion as dividend after provisioning N26bn demonstrates its strength and stability in these uncertain times.
In keeping with its traditional commitment of returning value to its shareholders, FirstBank also gave a bonus issue of one for every six ordinary shares held. These the stakeholders said is unprecedented in the history of the Nigerian capital market as no other company on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange has paid out cash and scrip dividend in the period under review.
The stakeholders also commended the bank for its corporate governance stance which ensured that it made the necessary disclosures as well as the efficient and seamless succession plan that saw the installation of Bisi Onasanya as the new Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer following former GMD/CEO, Sanuisi Lamido Sanusiâ€™s appointment to the office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
They further expressed confidence in and support for the Onasanya-led management team.
Apart from giving quality returns to shareholders, the Bank assured its numerous customers of its plans to provide better quality service going forward. The Group Managing Director, Mr. Onasanya informed the audience of the recently launched 24-hour, 7-days a week Customer Interaction Centre (FirstContact), as one step toawards closing gaps in service delivery to all customers of the Bank.
One other area the Bank has demonstrated is strength and dependability is in its staff welfare programme which was enhanced despite the operating environment. At a time when many organisations are freezing recruitments and promotions, the Bank elevated 1,600 staff to higher grades, representing 20% of its workforce. The Bank believes that a satisfied workforce will ensure that customers are better served.
FirstBank is Nigeriaâ€™s financial services icon with over a century of dependable service. It is unarguably the countryâ€™s most diversified financial services group, serving more than 4.2 million customers through 536 locations in Nigeria. The Bank also have presence in the UK, South Africa, France and China.