Fidelity Bank eyes Tier-1 status

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The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, has disclosed plans by the Nigerian lender to migrate to a Tier-1 bank in the country three years from now.

Okonkwo said the migration is part of the five-year strategic plan Fidelity Bank Plc has set out to achieve. The plan was drafted two years ago, even though the bank began execution in 2018.

According to the top executive who gave a recent interview, the bank’s numbers are showing steady progress towards the actualisation of its Tier-1 aspiration.

“Two years ago, we set out at fidelity bank to drive a five-year strategic plan, beginning from last year that would see us migrate to a tier 1 bank in the country by 2022. We want to break into the league of tier 1 banks and grow organically, keeping in mind that the other banks are also growing.

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“This is my sixth year as the CEO of the bank and by God’s grace we are driving the plan; the numbers show that we are making steady progress, year-on-year, in terms of balance sheet size, deposit and profitability.

“As we are doing this, we are keeping our eyes on the safety of the bank. We have thus kept our eyes on the bank’s capital adequacy, liquidity ratios, and risk management framework, governance and compliance practices, among others.

“For instance, as a result of our prudence in building up capital, we were able to cushion the impact of the implementation of IFRS 9; so we took the charge outright.”

Okonkwo also used the moment to douse speculations that the management of Fidelity Bank Plc is de-emphasizing corporate banking for retail banking.

He said the appointment of a new executive director for corporate banking shows how important corporate banking is to Fidelity Bank Plc.

“We have just appointed a new executive director, corporate banking and that should tell you how seriously we take corporate banking. We have grown our savings deposit account base from N75bn when I became CEO on January 1, 2014, to N226bn at present.”

Okonkwo said the impact of digitisation has been positive for Fidelity Bank, saying 81.5 per cent of the bank’s transactions is now done through digital channels.

“We are driving our retail banking with digitisation. About 81.5 per cent of our transactions are now done through digital channels. That is why you will see us building just one or two new branches in a year.