BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
Shareholders of Access Bank have approved a total dividend payment of N28.436 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.
The board proposed final dividend of N19.55 billion which translated to 55 kobo, pay share. The bank had earlier proposed and paid an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share, bringing the total to 80 kobo per share or N28.436 billion.
The shareholders gave their approval at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the bank held in Lagos at the weekend while commending the financial institution for sailing through the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered improved results that led to the declaration of 80 kobo dividend per share.
The chairman of the bank, Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika, said, despite the challenging regulatory and economic landscape, the bank delivered a solid performance across board.
She stated that, “in the year, the Group delivered N764.7 billion in gross earnings driven by a disciplined focus on sustainable growth. Velocity of customer activities was strong across all our business lines, compensating for the impact of lower yields on gross earnings.
“We recorded an interest income of N489.2 billion in the period arising from a deeply depressed yield environment. We closed with a net loan book of N3.6 trillion, maintaining our position as the largest lender in Nigeria, supporting business flows and value creation across the continent.”
Awosika added that Access Bank made several investments to strengthen relationships with its customers in the year, saying, “By redefining our approach to customer service through streamlining our internal processes, and digitizing about 30 per cent of customer journeys, we were able to improve on our customer experience.”
She pointed out that despite 2021 taking off with the second phase of COVID-19 across the globe, the bank entered 2021 with a robust balance sheet, deep customer relationships, a strong brand, and well-positioned businesses.
Also, the CEO of the bank, Herbert Wigwe said, despite a global pandemic environment, 2020 turned out to be a successful financial year for the bank. According to Wigwe, Access Bank is best positioned to maximize the identified opportunities in Africa on the back of a growing customer base and the move to a cashless economy.
“We have identified Africa to be a vast pool of opportunities with over 370 million unbanked adults, $9.2 billion in remittances and cross border payments, 89 cities of over 1.3 billion inhabitants by 2025 and the overall African financial ecosystem,” he said.