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Shareholders urge Ecobank to set up debt recovery committee

By Peter Egwuatu
Shareholders of Ecobank Nigeria Plc have advised its Board of Directors to set up a debt recovery committee that would be saddled with the responsibility of recovering debts owed to the bank.

The shareholders tasked its management to embrace the services of Credit Bureau firms that would be in good position to provide credit rating for people who need to borrow money from the bank, even as they commended the Board for bringing in new directors who were mostly dominated  by women and tasked them to work hard in order to return the bank to the era of dividend payment.

Speaking at the 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Wednesday in Lagos, Chairman of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mr. Boniface Okezie said, “ We are not against the reform of the banking sector but the approach the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adopted. The consequence of this approach is the decline in the value of our investment and not the lost of our investment.

There is also the need for the management to put in place Credit Bureau that would assist it in rating would be borrowers so that our bank will be able to lend to credit worthy people. Also the bank should publish the names of our debtors who had refused to pay so that they can take appropriate measures to recover out money such as placing receivership on their property if any.”

Chief Aderemi Oyepeju, Chairman of Ibadan Zonal Shareholders Association of Nigeria also supported the need to set up debt recovery committee that will assist in recovering most debt owed to the bank. We are not getting dividend and yet people are owing our company. We need to get reward for our investment.”

Mr. Sunny Nwosu also advised the bank to come out with a measure of reducing the 85 per cent stake owned by its parent company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) which is against the capital market regulation.
According to him, “ It is true that Ecobank has applied to the Nigerian Stock Exchange for exemption to allow the ETI acquire 85 per cent stake due to the recession of the market experienced last year but the Board should begin to think of reducing the stake of ETI to 75 per cent as permitted by law.”

Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Dr. Sonny Kuku who was recently appointed  by the Board commended shareholders for the support and advice given to move the bank forward.

In his words, “ Let me commend the newly elected directors and the immediate past Chairman, Chief A. Odeyemi who retired in March 2010 after attaining the age of 70 years in line with our Goup corporate governance charter.”
Continuing, he said, “ We thank all the shareholders and all the advice given. The issue of 85 per cent stake holding by ETI would be addressed soon as the NSE gave us two years grace due to down turn of the capital market and we hope to abide by it.”

The Bank gross earning grew by nine per cent from N55.16 billion in 2008 to N59.864 billion in 2009.
Loss before tax and extra ordinary item grew by 562 per cent from N898 million to N5.944 billion; Loss after tax and extra ordinary item surged by 315 per cent from N2.130 billion to N4.588 billion and deposits dropped by 22 per cent from N310.7 billion to N243.831 billion


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