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Access Bank declares first dividend since 2016 - Proposes GH¢0.7927 per share

BY: Charles Benoni Okine
Frank Beechem (middle), Board Chair of Access Bank addressing the AGM

FOR the first time since it went public in 2016, Access Bank (Ghana) Plc has proposed to pay dividend to its shareholders.

At the bank’s 14th Annual General Meeting held in Accra last week, the bank declared GH¢0.7927 per share as dividend for the 2021 financial year.

The move by the bank to pay dividend was on the back of the 28.3 per cent increase in the bank’s total operating income which increased from GH¢567,042,000 in 2020 to GH¢727,607,000 in the year under review.

Hailed as one of the major financiers for Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) sector, the bank also saw its net income grow from GH¢ 240,792,000 to GH¢ 321,574,000 representing a 33.5 per cent growth.

Performance hinged on tech

Addressing shareholders at the AGM, the Managing Director of the bank, Olumide Olatunji, attributed the bank's performance to the collective commitment of staff and improved digital technology deployed by the bank in its operations.

“We achieved significant growth, recording a 41 per cent Profit before Tax (PBT), higher than projected industry growth rate of 27 per cent.

Our total assets also saw a 28.6 per cent growth in 2021 full year, from GH¢5,823,778,000 in 2020 to GH¢7,491,295,000. This is also higher than the projected industry growth rate of 17 per cent.

“Our combined scale, digital capabilities, and ecosystem enabled us to achieve this significant feat. It reflects sheer hard work and efforts we put in our work, bolstered by a team of dedicated professionals and robust risk management structures”, he noted.

He was optimistic about the outlook for the banking industry and the opportunities available to the bank saying: “Adjusting to the emerging financial terrain requires a deliberate focus on executing our strategy to live our brand promise. We will continue to pursue our digital transformation and retail dominance agenda to deliver superior value to our customers.”

Growth in operational sectors

The Board Chairman of the bank, Frank Beecham, the sound financial measures adopted across all operational sectors of the bank resulted in the results achieved and commended all stakeholders for their efforts towards that feat.

"I am proud to announce that despite the effects of COVID -19 on global economies, your bank grew stronger and more resilient, applying lessons learned and best practice in the sector.”

The bank recorded significant growth in total operating income as well as its total assets. Total operating income and profit after tax recorded significant growth,” he said, adding that; “Your bank continues to be efficient with a Pre-tax Return on Investment (ROE) and Return on Asset (ROA) at 37 per cent and eight per cent, respectively, placing it among the top banks in Ghana”.

He explained further the dividend payment, saying "Your bank delivered an excellent all-round performance in the past year and in line with the bank’s dividend policy, the board is pleased to propose a dividend of GH¢0.7927 per share”.

He noted that the bank would continue to consolidate the giant gains made, continue to focus on upscaling staff with relevant skills to help them work efficiently. He also assured members of the board’s commitment to sound financial decisions.

Retirement from board

Mr Beecham used the occasion to announce his retirement after leading the board since 2014 and the retirement of two other board of directors.

“This year, 2022, three Non-Executive Directors, including the chairman of the board, would end their tenures with the bank. I will be retiring from the board at the end of June this year.

He expressed his appreciation to esteemed members of the bank, for keeping faith with the bank and with the board.

Resolutions

Shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda which included, among other things, the ratification of the appointment of two Executive Directors of the bank: James Bruce and Pearl Nkrumah and to receive and consider the Audited Financial Statements of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2021 together with the reports of the directors and auditors.

At the end, shareholders adopted the 2021 audited financials as presented by Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants for the period.

Know This

- Since 2009, Access Bank has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable business practices driving profitable, sustainable growth that is environmentally responsible and socially relevant.

- These have contributed to the bank being recognised in various awards in 2021 including the Most Innovative Retail Bank by Global Brands Awards, Best Bank in Customer Service by the World Economic Magazine Award and Best Bank in Customer Satisfaction by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG).