By Omodele Adigun
The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, has announced that its online banking platform has achieved a new milestone of one million customers early this month.
According to Okonkwo, who disclosed this at the end of the year party of the bank at the weekend, said that nobody would have expected the feat when he assumed duty as the bank’s CEO in 2014.
Apart from this, he said nobody ever expected it when the bank was rated the fourth in retail banking this year by KPMG. Four years ago, we were 15th. This calls for celebration. In January 2014, when we went for Customer-Investor meeting, some investors told us that we would not bring a dime unless the naira was devalued to N450 per dollar. But thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), we have seen improvement in liquidity at the foreign exchange market.”
On the bank’s success in its eurobond outing, he said it went for $300 million but was oversubscribed to the tune of $630 million. He explained that the strong investor demand allowed the bank to increase the offer size to $400 million.
Recall that Okonkwo, while announcing the eurobond success last October, had said, “we are delighted to have successfully completed the offering, and believe the transaction has a big positive signaling effect.
“It paves the way for other banking institutions, especially the Tier 2 Banks in Nigeria to explore the eurobond source of funding in the international arena and talk to the global emerging markets investor community as Nigerian market rebounds and we see bigger demand for strong local stories.”
Okonkwo said the string of successes achieved by the bank was as a result of “discipline and the execution of goals we set for ourselves four years ago.”
H added: “One year into my tenure, I took award of the best SMEs Bank and two of my colleagues in other banks said one day, you will be the Best Bad Loan Bank in SMEs. And I am happy to inform you that this has not happened. We got 70 per cent repayment of the loans we gave to SMEs. The market is huge, and the infrastructure is challenging, but we have been able to weather the storm.”
The bank chief said the end of the year party was the bank’s way of showing appreciation to its stakeholders for their support during the year. “We need to bring stakeholders together to say thank you for the kind of results we had. Fidelity may not be the most profitable; not the biggest, but we are going somewhere because of the results we achieved. We are not resting on our oars.”