James Reynolds Baiden, Board Chairman, with Julian Opuni (right), MD of Fidelity Bank
James Reynolds Baiden, Board Chairman, with Julian Opuni (right), MD of Fidelity Bank

Fidelity Bank posts GH¢1.17bn profit for 2023

Fidelity Bank has posted a strong financial performance for last year, turning around significantly, the half-a-billion-cedi loss it posted on the back of a national domestic debt treatment programme.

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The bank, which prides itself on being the country's largest privately owned indigenous bank, reported a dramatic shift in profitability, reversing a recorded loss of GH¢518 million in 2022 to a profit of GH¢1.17 billion in 2023.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fidelity Bank, Jim Baiden, at a virtual annual general meeting (AGM) last Friday, also announced a significant turnaround with operating income rising 40 per cent year-on-year, from GH¢1.43 billion in 2022 to GH¢2.03 billion last year.

Mr Baiden attributed the growth of the bank's strong performance across all business segments, including Retail Banking, Corporate and Institutional Banking, and Financial and Capital Markets.

The meeting, which was streamed live from the bank's head office in Accra, provided shareholders with an opportunity to review the bank's performance for the year ended December 31, 2023, and receive updates on strategic initiatives.

Balance sheet expansion

"Notwithstanding the macroeconomic challenges, 2023 was a year of strong performance and significant recovery for Fidelity Bank, evident in our record revenues and profits," Mr Baiden stated.

The board chairman also reported that Fidelity Bank's assets grew by 25 per cent to reach GH¢17.22 billion at the end of 2023, driven by a 28 per cent increase in customer deposits which closed the year at GH¢12.65 billion.

“The incremental funding enabled the bank to grow its loans and advances portfolio by 17 per cent to GH¢3.21 billion, and its investment securities book by 28 per cent to GH¢7.70 billion within the period under review,” Mr Baiden added.

He added that the bank also witnessed a 119 per cent increase in shareholder funds to reach GH¢1.44 billion at the end of the year. “This growth followed a sharp decline to GH¢0.66 billion in 2022, attributable to the bank's provisioning for expected credit losses occasioned by the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP),” Mr Baiden said.

The strong financial performance of the bank improved its year-end Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), with regulatory reliefs improving from 16.8 per cent in 2022 to 20.9 per cent in 2023, indicating that the Fidelity Bank remains adequately capitalised.

The bank’s analysis indicates that its balance sheet performance places it as the fifth largest bank in the country when assessed by total assets.

Commitment to innovation, sustainability

Mr Baiden emphasised Fidelity Bank's focus on innovation when he said: "We continue to invest in technology-driven solutions to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction in this digital era."

"The bank is also forging partnerships with FinTech (financial technology) firms and sustainable development organisations to align our strategies with emerging growth areas in financial services and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) propositions for greater value creation," Mr Baiden added.

Supporting local businesses, agriculture

The Managing Director of the bank, Julian Opuni, stated that Fidelity Bank was committed to empowering local businesses and fostering economic growth. “In 2023, we provided over GH¢2 billion in credit to businesses across key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, services and commerce," he pointed out.

Recognising the importance of agriculture, Mr Opuni said: "Over 10 per cent of its loan portfolio is dedicated to supporting agricultural businesses from established enterprises to small-scale entrepreneurs”.

He said the bank leveraged partnerships with major like-minded players in the agribusiness space such as the Development Bank Ghana and the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) to extend credit combined with capacity-building services to agricultural entrepreneurs.

Looking ahead, Mr Opuni announced plans to expand support for early-stage agribusinesses, particularly those led by female entrepreneurs. The MD of Fidelity Bank highlighted the Mastercard BRIDGE-in Agriculture programme, which aims to support smallholder farmers, impacting over 280,000 women and youth and creating over 20,000 new jobs in the next five years.

AGM outcomes, recognition

At the AGM, shareholders of the bank adopted the reports of the directors, auditors and the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2023. The shareholders also passed a resolution to declare a final dividend per share of GH¢3.41 for the same period; ratified the appointment of a non-executive director; re-elected three directors who had retired by rotation and also authorised the directors to fix the remuneration of the auditors.

Additionally, the AGM showcased Fidelity Bank's achievements and numerous awards received throughout the year, including Best Bank for Financial Inclusion Ghana 2023, CSR Bank of the Year, Best Commercial Lending Firm Ghana 2023 and Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Ghana.

Fidelity Bank's strong 2023 performance positions the bank for continued growth and leadership in the Ghanaian financial sector. The bank's commitment to innovation, customer service and support for local businesses highlights its distinctive role as a key player in driving Ghana's economic development.

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