Chairman's Statement at the 2016 AGM

Chairman's Statement at the 2016 AGM

Your Excellency, Most Rev. Dr. C.V.C. Onaga,
the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese and Principal Community Shareholder,
Other Esteemed Shareholders, Directors, External Auditors, Representatives of Government and Financial Institutions,
Invited Guests, Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Humbled by the awareness of the great privilege vested on me to function in this capacity, and with a deep sense of gratitude to God, I warmly welcome you to the 21st Annual General Meeting of our Bank, Umuchinemere Procredit Micro Finance Bank Limited (UPMFB), and present to you the Statement of the Chairman of the Bank.

The AGM is a forum where the shareholders of a company review the company's performance in the course of a financial year. The members evaluate the handling of the activities of the company in order to decide for themselves if the money they had invested in the company was worth it. Ladies and gentlemen, on the evidence of key performance and other indicators herein contained, I can assure you that your Bank, OUR Bank, has been entrusted to seasoned hands and is headed in the right direction.

2016 was a year of changes and challenges, both locally and internationally, but the Bank has come through it all with its foundations and pillars intact. This feat we can only ascribe to the great mercy of God, He who is our refuge and our help in times of trouble (cf. Ps. 46:1), and to the faith of the men and women through whom the Almighty had founded this organisation in 1995. I am referring to people like Bishop Michael Eneja (of blessed memory), the late Msgr. Dr. Anthony Aso, the late Engr. OboechinaMba,and the late Chief C.O.B. Eche. Other formidable members of the founding team include Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike, Chief (Sir) Gabriel Akachukwu, Msgr. Dr Anthony Okpalaibekwe, Msgr. Dr. Tobias Anichebe, Dr Vero Mogboh, Chief A.E.O. Nwachukwu, and many others, among whom I am privileged to count.

It is thanks to the above, and also to the diligent services of directors and staff, as well as the support of shareholders and well-wishers, all in the course of the years, that we can say that our Bank is like that house in the Gospel parable which is built on a rock (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). No matter how fierce the winds and vicissitudes of life and the economy may blow, we are confident that the Bank will hold firm and continue to do the good work of the Lord and of His Holy Church in this socioeconomic ambience.

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT DURING THE PERIOD
It is important to reiterate, ladies and gentlemen, that the operating environment in 2016 was an unstable and generally unfavourable one. On the global level,we saw Great Britain initiate the process of exiting from the European Union, an event that has become famous – or notorious, depending on how you view it – as the "Brexit", and which sent shockwaves travelling through the world. In the same year, the United States of America, after a rancour-filled campaign season, elected a new President whose slogan, "America First", and views on various other subjects had many individuals, nations and businesses skittering about in uncertainty. Global terrorism continued to afflict citizens in numerous countries, and the economic slump in countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, et cetera, persisted unabated.

Coming to the Nigerian scene, foreign exchange earnings dipped precipitously as a result of a decline in oil production and low global oil prices, and the country soon caterwauled into a recession. Business activities nearly ground to a halt throughout the nation, and many sectors of the economy, including the banking sector, were forced into massive retrenchment/downsizing exercises in order to stay afloat. Families and communities bore the brunt of the recession, and there was a sharp increase in the national crime rate. Governments were not spared during this period. Many State and Local Governments were unable to pay the monthly salaries of their workers, talk less of embarking on capital projects. They ran to the Federal Government for assistance, which in turn had to borrow money from international financial institutions in order to finance the budget.

It would be wishful thinking to assume that our Bank was not affected by the above developments. Being engaged in the business of micro-lending, the Bank experienced a decline in patronage and an increase in the number of clients who defaulted on their loan repayments. With the economy in a parlous situation, the Bank's foundations and resources were severely tested. But I am happy to announce to you that, unlike what was the case with so many organisations in 2016, our Bank emerged from the storm as vibrant as ever, still standing, still thriving, and still with the potential of ever-increasing success and prosperity for its clients and shareholders alike. At no point was the Bank forced into embarking on a downsizing exercise. Rather, it managed to secure its depositors' and shareholders' funds, while continuing to meet its numerous financial and other obligations, complying with the relevant banking regulations, and also rendering needed assistance to its clientele in the State.

The Bank succeeded in completing and commissioning a new office building for its Agbani Branch. It also opened new Customer Meeting Points (CMPs) at Amechi, Timber Shed, and Iwollo as part of its drive towards expanding the outreach of its services. The construction of a new office complex for AmokweBranch was put on hold for understandable reasons, but I have no doubt that this project shall be executed in the coming years. The Bank developed new products and explored fresh ways of cooperating with the government, financial institutions, and other entities towards the furthering of its objectives. It also set up and duly registered a Training Academy (UPTA Ltd) whose main purposes are to provide training and other services to both UPMFB staff and staff of other financial institutions, and also serve as an income-generating channel for the organisation.

PERFORMANCE AND FINANCIAL INDICATORS
Ladies and gentlemen, the Total Assets of the Bank decreased from ₦2, 614, 993, 744 in 2015 to ₦2, 500, 320, 538 in 2016. A breakdown of the Assets shows that Cash and Short-Term Funds decreased from ₦1, 500, 775, 612 in 2015 to ₦1, 464, 806, 312 in 2016. Investments, on the other hand, increased from ₦18, 677, 601 in 2015 to ₦20, 687, 325 in 2016. Loans and Advances decreased from ₦799, 631, 400 in 2015 to ₦655, 316, 454 in 2016. Other Assets increased from ₦170, 606, 355 in 2015 to ₦216, 167, 752 in 2016. Fixed Assets increased from ₦125, 302, 776 in 2015 to ₦143, 342, 695 in 2016.

Coming to Liabilities, Deposits increased from ₦1, 556, 819, 823 in 2015 to ₦1, 570, 804, 383 in 2016. The CBN/ENSG-MSMED FUND decreased from ₦182, 730,000 in 2015 to ₦32, 200,000 in 2016. Taxation Payable also decreased from ₦6, 430, 284 in 2015 to ₦4, 965, 275 in 2016, and Dividend Payable decreased from ₦37, 654, 275 in 2015 to ₦6, 817,000 in 2016. Other Liabilities decreased from ₦75, 303, 433 in 2015 to ₦71, 476, 429 in 2016. Total Liabilities stood at ₦1, 686, 263, 087 in 2016, down from the 2015 figure of ₦1, 858, 937, 815.

Overall, Total Net Assets increased from ₦756, 055, 930 in 2015 to ₦814, 057, 450 in 2016.

On Capital and Reserves, Share Capital increased from ₦376, 542, 749 in 2015 to ₦395, 924, 511 in 2016. Share Premium increased from ₦20, 252, 999 in 2015 to ₦20, 711, 049 in 2016. Statutory Reserve increased from ₦301, 263, 716 in 2015 to ₦320, 344, 571 in 2016, while Revenue Reserve also increased from ₦57, 996, 466 in 2015 to ₦77, 077, 320 in 2016. Shareholders Fund stood at ₦814, 057, 450 in 2016, up from the 2015 figure of ₦756, 055, 930.

Net Operating Income decreased from ₦422, 967, 865 in 2015 to ₦414, 256, 388 in 2016. Operating Expenses, on the other hand, increased from ₦362, 943, 548 in 2015 to ₦370, 594, 679 in 2016. Net Profit before Tax decreased from ₦60, 024, 317 in 2015 to ₦43, 661, 709 in 2016, and the Provision for Taxation was ₦5, 500,000 in 2016, up from the 2015 figure of ₦4, 726, 945. Net Profit after Taxation stood at ₦38, 161, 709 in 2016, down from the 2015 figure of ₦55, 297, 372. Transfer to Revenue Reserve increased from ₦4, 99, 411 in 2015 to ₦19, 080, 854 in 2016. Earnings per Share decreased from 16k in 2015 to 10k in 2016, while Dividend per Share decreased from 10k in 2015 to 0k in 2016.

BOARD AND MANAGEMENT
There was a change in the composition of the Board of Directors during the period under review. Rev. Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike, the Chairman of the Bank since 2008, left the Board and handed over the baton of leadership to me at the last AGM, while his seat on the Board was taken over by Rev. Fr. Dr. Chinedu O. Anieke, the Executive Director of CIDJAP, Enugu. Dame Dr. Mrs Ngozi Agu also left the Board, and was succeeded by the (then) President of the Enugu Diocese Catholic Women Organisation (EDCWO), Hon. Mrs. Eunice Oguanya. Membership of the Board was as follows: Rev. Msgr. Dr. Anthony Anijielo (Chairman), Rev. Fr. Dr. Geoffrey Aguigwo, Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthony Igwe, Chief (Sir) Gilbert Obu, Rev. Fr. Dr. Chinedu O. Anieke, Hon. Mrs. Eunice Oguanya, and Mrs. Nnenna Ekete (Managing Director). Rev. Sr. Barr. Benedicta Odoh was the Bank's Company Secretary and Legal Adviser during the period under review, but she resigned her appointment towards the end of 2016 sequel to her election as the General Secretary of her religious Congregation, the Daughters of Divine Love, and the Board directed that she be replaced by Barr. Clifford Obu.

There was only one change at the Management level during the period under review. Current Membership of the Core Management echelon of the Bank comprises:-
1. Mrs. Nnenna Ekete – Managing Director
2. Mr. Ikechukwu Ngene – Head of Operations
3. Mr. Charles Ozor – Head Finance and Accounts
4. Mr. Cyprian Ezeagu – Head Business Development
5. Mr. Odinaka Okeke – Head Risk Management
6. Mrs. Bibbian Ofoje – Head Internal Audit/Chief Compliance Officer
7. Mr. Cajetan Eze – Head Human Resources
8. Mr. Charles Udeani – Head Credit

Other Management Staff members include:-

1. Mr. Charles Iheanacho – Manager Abakpa Branch
2. Mr. John Umeh – Manager 9th Mile Branch
3. Mr. Fabian Ozoana – Manager GOU Branch
4. Mr. Emeka Arum – Manager Enugu Main Branch
5. Mrs. Pauline Godwin-Ike – Manager Garriki Branch
6. Mrs. Nneka Omulu – Manager Agbani Branch
7. Rev. Sr. Chineem Ezenwata – Manager Amokwe Branch
8. Mrs. Chioma Okafor – Head Shares Unit
9. Engr. Gloria Nonyel – Head ICT Unit
10. Sir. Abuchi Anueyiagu – Head Public/Media Relations Unit
11. Mr. Alex Achu – Head Marketing Unit

The Bank understands that human resources development is an essential ingredient in every organisation's success, and it has organised, and continues to organise, trainings and workshops for its directors and staff, while also encouraging and assisting staff in deepening their knowledge of banking and other financial activities. Four Management staff went on overseas training in 2016, two Management staff were certified by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN), and more staff have enrolled into the CBN Micro Finance Certificate Programme. The Bank has also encouraged and given its approval to staff desirous of embarking on advanced degree courses and other worthwhile academic pursuits.

OUTLOOK
As I said earlier in my opening remarks, the Bank is headed in the right direction. 2016 might have been a trying year for the Bank in particular and the country in general, but the dawn of better things to come has arrived, and the Bank has positioned itself to attain to greater heights, seeking and exploring ways of guaranteeing good success in the coming years.

Taking advantage of the country having emerged from a crippling recession, and also the policies of the Federal Government which are geared towards increasing investment in other sectors of the economy and reducing the country's overall dependence on oil exports, the Bank intends to contribute to the development of agriculture, commerce, industry, education, micro housing, and other areas within its CBN-regulated purview. To that effect, it intends toincrease loan disbursements and other financial assistance to qualified individuals, groups/associations and institutions that are engaged in those vital sectors of the economy. The Bank has been selected as one of only nine (9) Micro Finance Banks in the entire federation which shall co-operate with the CBN under the World Bank-CBNHousing Micro Finance Scheme geared towards providing housing micro finance opportunities to those in the lower echelons of the society. The Bank has also entered into an agreement with the Bank of Industry (BOI) under the GEEP Fund Scheme to assist individuals and SMEs in Enugu State.

In order to tackle the challenge of loan defaults/bad loans and a burgeoning Portfolio-at-Risk, the Bank has embarked on aggressive loan recovery measures, while disposing of the properties used as collateral by clients whose loans have gone bad. Measures have also been put in place to review and refine the loan disbursement process in order to protect the depositors' funds used for loan disbursements and also maximise profit by ensuring prompt and adequate repayment of those loans. The Bank has executed agreements with two companies (XDS and CRC) which provide credit bureau services, thus eliminating incidents of customers coming to borrow money from the Bank while still indebted to some other financial institution(s). The Bank has also enforced a zero tolerance policy with regard to fraud and other related matters, and it has summarily dismissed and subsequently initiated legal proceedings against staff found to have engaged in such criminal activities.

The Bank is currently working towards setting up a smoother banking process for its clientele. To that effect, it is at the closing stages of finalising integration with Interswitch Ltd., which integration shall facilitate such things as ATM and POS services (to be commenced on or before 2018), and also electronic fund transfer activities. The Bank is also in the process of registering and generating BVNs for its customers, in compliance with CBN stipulations, and it has acquired the requisite machines needed for that purpose.

I feel it is important at this juncture to inform you that one of the Bank's directors, Hon. Mrs. Eunice Oguanya, has tendered her resignation.Your ratification of this resignation is hereby requested. We are also proposing a replacement in the person of Mrs NwannekaOkolo, a seasoned banker and the present National President of the Catholic Women Organisation. May it please you to approve this nomination.

It is also necessary to state that the NDIC, after its last inspection visit to the Bank, recommended that the membership of the Board should be increased. Sequel to this, the Board is taking steps to obtain the requisite approval from the CBN.

CLOSING REMARKS
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your patience and understanding. On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of our Bank, I also thank you for your good will, patronage, and collaboration. I pray that you will continue to provide that unwavering support which you have given this organisation over the years, with which the Bank has been able to surmount the numerous challenges along the way.

I wish you safe journey as you return to your various destinations, while assuring you that, with God on our side, we shall continue to march from strength to strength.

Thank you, and may the Good Lord bless us all.

Signed:

Rev. Msgr. Dr. Anthony Anijielo
Chairman

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