The Board Chairman of Fidelity Bank says now is the ripe time for the bank to increase its loan book. 

Speaking at a press briefing after an Annual General Meeting (AGM), Edward Effah said that “considering recent trends in the macroeconomy – a single inflation rate, favourable port reforms, successful bond issuance, we can say now is the time to lend more – Afterall that’s the purpose of any bank”.

Fidelity Bank recorded an end-of-year profit before tax of GH¢242 million, a rise of 79 per cent, representing significant growth from the GH¢135 million recorded in 2017. 

Management of the bank attributed this development to lower funding costs and improved interest margins.

Mr Effah said the Bank’s deposit base spiked by 13 per cent to GH¢4.5 billion buoyed by its innovative deposit mobilization campaigns such as the “Switch and Smile” and transaction floats.

“Most notably, your Bank successfully increased its stated capital from GH¢264 million to GH¢404 million. In addition, your Bank won the 2017 CIMG Bank of the Year, the Best Local Bank in Ghana, 2017, and the Best Local Investment Bank in Ghana, 2017, conferred by EMEA Finance,” excerpts of the bank’s financials revealed.

On payments of dividends, Edward Effah explained why the Board had proposed a dividend of GH¢1.28 per share for the year, which represented a growth of 83 per cent from the 2017 dividend payment of GH¢0.70 per share.

The bank further explained that a new business unit – the Wholesale Banking Group – was created within the year to enable it to improve the coordination of client coverage and product delivery to valued clients in the corporate and investment banking space.

Net interest income grew by 23 per cent from GH¢408 million in 2017 to GH¢501 million in 2018 whilst net fee and commission income also rose by 56 per cent to end 2018 at GH¢134 million.

On the outlook for 2019, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Julian Kingsley Opuni, explained the bank will be focused on becoming “an established top three bank in Ghana by 2021 based on all key performance indicators driven by achieving the best digital presence with a people-centred approach to product delivery among others.”