By Peter Egwuatu
Shareholders of First City Merchant Bank( FCMB) Plc have unanimously endorsed proposed plan by its Board of Directors to apply for universal banking licence with international banking authorisation.
While adopting the report for the Bank’s financial year ended December 31, 2011, the shareholders at the 28TH Annual General Meeting (AGM) held weekend in Lagos, also authorised its Board to proceed with the US70 million loan facility offer from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The proposed dividend of 35 kobo per share for the financial year 2010 was equally approved by shareholders present at the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, a shareholder, Mr.Tunji Bamidele commended the Board and management of the Bank for the improved performance when measured with the previous year.
According to him, “ I must commend the founder of our Bank, Otunba Michael Balogun for his visionary leadership and the entire Board and management for the improved performance. We thank you all for the 35 kobo dividend, though small , we understand the environment that the Bank operated upon in the period under review. We hope to get higher dividend in subsequent periods.
Mr. Bobby Emeka, another shareholders commended the improved performance and the level of disclosure in the annual reports. “ we want the Board to bring in people on the Board with fresh ideas that will move the Bank forward. We don’t want people that will just come and sit on the Board and be collecting fees without adding value to the organisation. We give the management and staff kudos for the result being endorsed and urged them to work harder.
Another shareholder who spoke the minds of other shareholders at the meeting , Mrs. Christy O. Vincent said, “ the Board should look at the capital adequacy and be able to address it successfully. If the Board still insist of taking the loan from IFC then it should be able to negotiate very well on the interest to be paid which should be able to impact on the result of the Bank. Our cash flow should be adequately monitored and controlled .We would like to know also how the loan will be serviced in the future”
She further advised that management should look into the issue of continuos training of its staff.
According to her, “ there is need for both middle and junior staff to continuously undergo training because of the evolving trends in the banking industry. This is the era of information technology and it will be beneficial if our staff are adequately trained as we are now moving to more sophisticated accounting standard practices. Countries are developing different soft ware packages tailored to boost operations and so our staff need to be acquainted with new development.”
Meanwhile, Managing Director/CEO, FCMB Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, in his response at the meeting thanked the shareholders for their loyalty and support towards growing the Bank
While explaining the rationale for the IFC loan facility, he said, “ the $70 million will be used to grow our lending in agriculture, education and health. It will also be use to improve our working capital.
In the loan facility, $50 million is a straight loan, while $20 million is convertible loan. This means that IFC will have options of converting the loan to equity if it requires.”
Balogun, further revealed that the Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FinBank Plc to have a combined business relationship, noting that it was still subject to regulatory approvals.