In keeping with regulations for listed companies on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) amid restrictions on public gatherings due to COVID-19, Access Bank Ghana has led the way by holding its 12th Annual General Meeting through a virtual platform for its shareholders.
The virtual AGM was held to consider and adopt the Statement of Accounts for the year ended December 31, 2019 at the Access Bank Head Office in Accra.
Shareholders joined the virtual meeting via a dedicated link and unique password. Making use of a chat room feature and vote button on the broadcast screen, shareholders were able to participate successfully in the meeting. The bank also provided a dedicated USSD short-code as an option to enable shareholders partake in voting procedures.
At the meeting, shareholders commended the bank for the approach it has taken to ensure the meeting was held to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has put an embargo on physical AGMs being held in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The shareholders also applauded the bank for its sterling performance for the year under review, and encouraged management and staff to keep up the good work even as the country steers through the pandemic.
Board Chairman of Access Bank Ghana, Mr. Frank Beecham, in his remarks said the Bank’s performance in 2019 was of signiﬁcant progress, with a much improved operating proﬁt and major achievements in terms of business reorganisation.
Looking at highlights of the past financial year, Access Bank delivered a 206% growth in proﬁt for the year at GH¢220million from GH¢72million in 2018, though Gross Earnings increased by a slower rate to GH¢626million from GH¢544million. Total Assets witnessed a growth of 33% to GH¢4.7billion from GH¢3.5billion in 2018, while Customer Deposits increased to GH¢3billion from GH¢2.5billion in 2018, strengthening its resolve to build a very formidable wholesale and retail banking franchise.
Mr. Beecham stated that the Board was unable to recommend the payment of dividends to shareholders, as it was duty-bound to uphold prudential guidelines from the regulator in respect of effects from the novel coronavirus pandemic. He was however confident that the board’s decision will enable the bank to deal adequately with issues emerging from the pandemic.
“Even though the COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to global economic growth, your bank will continue to look for innovative ways to maintain proﬁtable margins and introduce robust cost optimisation methods that will push the frontiers of our business to greater heights,” he concluded.
Speaking to shareholders at the AGM, the Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana, Mr. Olumide Olatunji said: “We see many opportunities in the market and are retuning our business to meet both present and future demands in a manner that helps us remain competitive. While managing the current health crisis is the ﬁrst priority for us, we shall seek to prepare ourselves adequately for the anticipated mid- and long-term ripple eﬀects on the industry and the macro economy”.
At the virtual meeting powered by Npontu Technologies and Novelty Innovations, Shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda – which included re-election of the company’s Board Directors and authorising Directors to fix the fees of the Auditors. At the end, shareholders adopted the 2019 audited financials as presented by Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants for the period.
Since 2009, Access Bank has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable business practices driving profitable, sustainable growth that is also environmentally responsible and socially relevant. The bank is also leading the way with investments in key sectors of the economy; including telecommunications, energy, oil and gas, manufacturing and agriculture.