By NKIRUKA NNOROM, PROVIDENCE OBUH & CHINEDU IBEABUCHI
Fortis Micro-Finance Bank plc has assured investors of its commitment to ensure that it delivers superior returns to them despite the lull in the capital market.
Giving the assurance at the listing of the bank’s 1.63 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N5.00 per share on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the Managing Director, Mr. Kunle Oketikun, said that the management would leverage the huge opportunities in the banking space to grow its earnings.
According to him, keen competition, thinning profit margins and slow growth rates of corporate and commercial banking institutions serves as a catalyst for micro-financing in the country.
“Nigerian has the population and a very huge market. More than 70 per cent of Nigerians are classified as economically disadvantaged. This means that about 100 million Nigerians are to be served by Micro-Finance banks with products and services. You are as a matter of fact limited by your capital and vision,” he emphasised.
He noted that the bank would within the next few months engage in deepening the existing relationship with micro-credits, SMEs and expanding its retail client base for greater reach and impact. He said, “We will effectively expand existing operations by exploiting various distribution channels. We will enhance our processes and structures to improve operational efficiencies and exceed customers’ expectations.
On the comoany’s financials, the Fortis MFB boss explained that the comapmy has been able to grow its gross earnings from mere N177.76 million in 2008 when it commenced operations to N830.35 million in 2012. The total net assets has also to N792.63 million from N39.89 million in 2008, while the balance sheet has jumped to n4.72 billion from N1.098 billion in 2008.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema enjoined Fortis MFB to trail the path of the first Microfinance Bank (NPF Micro-Finance Bank) listed on the Exchange which has consistently paid dividends on a yearly basis despite the tough economic circumstances.
“It is worthy to note that Fortis MFB is the first microfinance bank to be listed this year and the second MFB (out of over 600 licensed by the CBN) to list on the NSE.
“We are quite glad to report that the other MFB listed on The Exchange has consistently paid dividends on a yearly basis and despite the tough economic circumstances and the equally tough banking sector in which they are listed, they have continued to outperform some established commercial banks. We are quite optimistic that Fortis MFB will also do very well in the Nigerian Capital Market,” Onyema stressed.