The Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Urum Kalu Eke yesterday said that the company would intensify efforts to recover all non-performing loans (NPL), which have affected the performance of the firm in the past years.

Despite reducing its impairment provisioning from N226 billion in 2016 to N150.4 billion in 2017, some of the shareholders, who spoke at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos yesterday, believed the impairment charges are still on the high side. They therefore urged the board and management to ensure the loans are recover to boost the company’s performance.

Responding, Eke assured shareholders that necessary strategies were being adopted to recover the loans. According to him, loan recovery has been a core focus of the leadership team of the bank, pointing out that there is a special committee set up to address it, just as an asset management unit had been created for the purpose.

‚ÄúEven though we have not recorded a full resolution of our NPL, we have made significant progress in dealing with a number of these names and more fundamentally, ensured a strong asset quality from recent credits. As a result NPL for the period declined from 24.4 percent in 2016 to 22.8 percent in 2017,‚ÄĚ he said.

According to him, top line continues to grow despite the industry-wide slowdown in loan growth as a result of the recession which halted business activities across industries.

‚ÄúThe Group recorded gross earnings of N595.4 billion representing a growth of 2.3 per cent over the prior year of N581.8 billion despite a drop in loans and advances from N2.083 trillion in 2016 to N2.001 trillion in 2017. This earnings growth underlines the inherent strength and resilience of FBN Holdings Group and reinforces our promise to the market to maximize the assets portfolio of the group revenue,‚ÄĚ he said.

In his address, Chairman of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Oba Otudeko said the flagship subsidiary of the Group, First Bank Nigeria Limited, sustained its leadership position in the e-payment space, emerging as the first financial institution in Nigeria and West Africa to issue 10 million cards to customers. He added that the bank was recognised as the first financial institution in Nigeria to achieve an electronic transaction volume of 100 million in a month.

Looking ahead, Otudeko said FBN Holdings would consolidate on the progress made in the previous year to deliver a strong and sustainable performance that enhances returns to shareholders.
Meanwhile, shareholders approved the payment of N8.974 billion, which translates to 25 kobo per share for the 2017 financial year.