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FIDELITY bank Plc: Growing conservatively, Consistently

Fidelity Bank Plc was incorporated in 1987 and commenced business as a merchant banking outfit. It however converted to commercial banking in 1999 following the clamour of  wholesale institutions for a level playing ground in the industry. The bank proceeded to list as a public entity in the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2005. Since then, Fidelity Bank has been on a firm and  steady growth trajectory to emerge as one of the admirable institutions in the sector by key stakeholders.

•Christopher Ezeh, Chairman, Fidelity Bank & •Nnamdi Okonkwo, MD/CEO.
•Christopher Ezeh, Chairman, Fidelity Bank & •Nnamdi Okonkwo, MD/CEO.

The bank is guided by an ambitious vision to be “number 1 in every market we serve and every branded product we offer”. The bank intends to achieve this broad goal by disciplined adherence to certain guiding principles or core values represented by the pneumonic ‘CREST’ namely Customer’s first, Respect, Excellence, Shared Ambition and Tenacity.

The bank has in several practical ways demonstrated its commitment to the principle of “Customer First”. In 2014, it adopted a service programme centred on building a superior customer service franchise. Remarkably, the bank committed itself to quantitative targets of services delivery in the areas of service turnaround time, response time to enquiries and complaints among others.

To achieve those targets, sales structure was flattened and certain operations were centralized. With the aid of a bespoke on-line banking platform and a dedicated Customer Complaint and Protection Department, the bank has been able to achieve a lot. For instance turnaround time for on-line customer set-up in the branches was in 2014 reduced from 24 hours to 3 hours.

Customer Service, Deposit and Liquidity

Fidelity Bank prides itself about having a robust retail strategy. In 2014, it reportedly added over 471000 new customers in this segment. The beauty of this strategy is that goals are achieved at relatively low average cost of fund leading to greater efficiency. The bank also continued to expand the channel through which these customers are serviced.

It grew the number of Automated teller Machines to 685 and Point of Sale facilities to 9,156. Some 850 Customer Service Agents were introduced to the channel structure just as some education related products were launched. As at 31st December, 2014, the bank was able to accumulate total customer deposit of about

Capital Adequacy Measures

Fidelity Bank has long recognized that good treatment of shareholders by way of attractive dividends and good relations is required for an organization that intends to sustain good share capital base for operations. Accordingly, it long decided to set up a dedicated investor relations desk hat is actively managed. Over the last 20 years, it used combinations of cash dividend and scrip issues to keep shareholders happy and ready to support capital issues.

As at 31st December, 2014, shareholders commitment in terms of shareholding amounted to N173billion. This amount was owned by some 408,766 shareholders. Against an analyst’s estimate of risky portfolio size of N305billion the capital to risk relations measure of 25% clearly underlines the conservative posture of the bank as regards the extent of cushion provided by capital base.

Notwithstanding that the figure is lower than 8% estimated for 2013, we believe that Fidelity Bank has a very comfortable capital base which can prudentially support multiples of existing volume of business  at present regulatory regime. To the credit of bank’s management, it had over the years tried to grow capital from internal and external sources. In 2014, internal rate of growth in capital was estimated at 8%, up from 5% in 2013.

 


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