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Access Bank's gross earnings hit N208bn

By The Citizen
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…As shareholders approve N8bn dividend
Access Bank Group has declared gross earnings of N208 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2013, as against N197 billion recorded in the previous year.

The group recorded a profit before tax of N45 billion as its total assets and liabilities grew to N1.84 trillion, N1.6 trillion as against the N1.75 trillion and N1.6 trillion recorded in the corresponding period respectively.

However, shareholders Wednesday at the bank's annual general meeting approved a total dividend of N8 billion, interim dividend of 25kobo paid in half year and a final dividend of 35kobo per share approved representing a total of 60kobo per share awarded.

The shareholders also approved the raising of $1 billion additional capital by the Board of Directors to establish a medium term notes programme either by way of public offering, private placement, rights offering, book building process via the issuance of convertible or non-convertible loans, medium term notes, bonds or other securities.

Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/CEO of the bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said that despite the economic and regulatory challenges, the institution has continued to improve its execution skills, fit for purpose and with the right scale and structure to be among the top profitable banks.

According to him, Access Bank can now, in line with its corporate objectives, pursue and entrench itself in the top three position in all markets the bank chooses to serve.

Wigwe disclosed that customers' deposits increased by 10.8 per cent to N1.3 trillion on the back of renewed customer engagement and upholding brand promises of 'Speed, Service and Security.'

He affirmed: 'We believe our customers will continue to benefit from the stability and efficiency of the prudent risk-management structure we have in place.'

The GMD, who stated that the bank surpassed its lending target and increased loans by 33.2 per cent for the year under review, attributed the improvement to the bank's foreign exchange lending support trade and foreign exchange income generating sectors, while sorting to ease pressure from tighter lending in its local currency book.

The Chairman of Access Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, who, for the sterling performance and profitability of the bank hailed the new GMD, Wigwe, said he has a deep understanding of the bank's operations and has been an integral part of the team that built the bank from number 65 in 1992 to its current top tier-one position in Nigeria.

He explained that in 2013 the bank was able to make significant progress in its journey to transform the institution into a customer-focused and results-oriented institution.

According to him, Access Bank's corporate governance and risk-management frameworks remain strong and robust, as the policies have protected the bank while allowing it pursue opportunities that drive long-term growth and value.

He affirmed that the Board of Directors was confident that the bank has the appropriate capacity to protect and safeguard the interests of its depositors and shareholders at all times.

However, the National Chairman, Progressive Association of Shareholders, Boniface Okezie, commended the board for the transformation of the bank under the new GMD, Wigwe, and the 60kobo dividend offered.