By Bayo Bernard
Leading Tier Two lender, Fidelity Bank Plc. appears to have delivered more in putting smiles on the faces of those on the low end of the society than any bank in its category in the last one year.
It remains unclear whether this has impacted on the huge profit made by the bank within this period despite serious economic challenges facing the country.
The shareholders are, therefore happy and customers are smiling because the Nnamdi Okonkwo led bank has kept its unwavering word of delivering innovative services, industry watchers say.
“The figures and the numbers are good,” Okonkwo said confidently at the end of the year party organized recently to appreciate hardworking staff and customers.
The bank’s CEO is right. considering that within the last one year, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has wielded its big stick by taking over at least one bank over serious governance issues.
More are still under the watch of the regulator, CBN sources told the magazine.
Fidelity Bank is home and dry in all core areas. The stellar performance has seen the bank income rise by 23 per cent to N17.86 billion from N14.5 billion anchored on a N10.03 billion growth in total income to N120. 40 billion, compared to N110.37 billion in the previous year.
But while competitors focused mainly on profitability, the bank which won at least two important awards in the last 365 days has strengthened its relationship with various communities across the country in terms of corporate social responsibility, CSR.
“In a society that’s highly competitive, fostering co-operation will help solve the many challenges facing the society. This includes devoting resources to others than self. This will bring about solidarity that nurtures harmonious relationships,” Okonkwo said.
It would be wrong for Fidelity “to stick to our primary purpose of existence,” he said, because “we would have missed the chance to care which of course will result to lack in the midst of abundance.”
For Fidelity Bank to remain a responsible bank, Okonkwo added “we must be a caring economy in order to solve the issue of inequality. We must serve and not be served.”
According to him the success of any bank depends on what it’s able to give back to the society because “The maxim doing well by doing good presupposes that if a company does well in terms of meeting its business objectives, including profitability that company should also have a deliberate strategy for doing good.”
That message has resonated well in no other place than the fishing and forgotten Maroko community where an indigent girl will now has the opportunity to live her dreams of becoming a digital solution engineer courtesy of a university scholarship provided by the bank.
Sharon Okpoe had resigned to fate as her patents were too poor to sponsor her university education. Her parents’ fish business could barely take care of core domestic needs and her other siblings.
But her fortune changed after she had an encounter with destiny changers from Fidelity Bank.
On why the bank decided to help Okpoe, Okonkwo said “we were moved by her story when we saw the CNN clip and decided to award her scholarship through university, thus giving her wings to fly.”
Okpoe is “very grateful for this opportunity” and will not disappoint the bank.
The bank will not disclosed how much it cost to deliver various life changing interventions in the last one year but, what’s more important, the bank said, is to make sure that wherever “we do business, we identify a project that’s relevant to the community and support that project.”
This will portray the bank as “responsible and supportive members of every community where we operate,” it said.
No fewer than 50 of such interventions have been delivered to various communities across Nigeria in the last three years, as part of the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme, FHHP.
These include drilling a borehole and purchasing a new submersible pumping machine, refurbishment of the children dining table and settees in the children common room, refurbishment of the kitchen cabinet and provision of essential items and food stuffs to IFO Sought After Children Orphanage in Ajah Lagos.
The bank has also constructed and provided essential furniture at Urban Maternity and Child Welfare Clinic, Kofar Ran, Bauchi state.
It also renovated and furnished the Female Surgical and Pediatric ward of Minna, Niger state.
Speaking on the issue, the bank’s Chairman, a former Deputy Governor of CBN, Ernest Ebi said “It gladdens our hearts to see that we have impacted lives through the numerous projects recorded over the years by FHHP in the focus areas of Health, Social Welfare, Environment, Education and Youth Empowerment.”
Indeed, doing good to Nigerians has remained the center of Fidelity Bank’s business in the last few years.