2008 Annual Report: Chairman's Statement

2008 Annual Report: Chairman's Statement

Your Lordship, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Most Reverend Dr. C.V.C. Onaga,
Esteemed fellow Shareholders,
Invited Guest,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

With gratitude to Almighty God, I render herewith the Chairman's Statement at the 13th Annual General Meeting of the UP-MFB Ltd, the listening bank. It is with immense delight and privilege that I welcome you to the 13th (2008) Annual General Meeting (AGM) of your fast growing Bank, the Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank Nigeria Limited (UPMFB), Enugu, which marks the first anniversary of our operation in the new world of micro finance banking in Nigeria.

The country formally introduced the micro finance banking system in its financial/banking sector of the economy with the Federal Government's fiscal policy of December 15, 2005, and your bank, hitherto operating as a Community Bank (of encouraging success), embraced the new order, when it transformed into a micro finance bank 22 months later, precisely February 2007.

This 13th AGM, taking place this year 2009, is historic because you will take pride in the fact of the great development which the bank experienced in the year under review, just in one year of the great development which the bank. Joyfully we are moving and recording impressive strides.

Boldly speaking, a bank that had a modest beginning has today grown into firm and pride, thus placing itself into a leading and enviable position within the banking industry and its operational environment. UPMFB is reputably ascribed as a MFB with best practices and ethical standards. I am delighted about the attainments your bank has so far recorded in the very short period under review, which I am going to present to you in the review of the major developments in the environment within which our bank operated, as well as a summary of its performance for the financial year ended.

Domestics: The effects of the 2008 global crisis on Nigeria's economy was disruptive and devastating, reverberating in every facet of life and impairing the erstwhile robust growth trend that had followed the country since 2002.

Major consequences of the global downturn for the country were the decrease in government revenue earning as a result of lower oil prices and depression in capital inflows, compelling a significant recline in spending, a consequent contraction in the economy and fiscal deficit, and resulting to the depreciation of the purchasing power or value of the Naira against international currencies, by 27% for instance, from ₦117.7/$ to ₦149/$ in June 2008. It heightened inflation and weekend consumer spending.

With the backlash of the economic crunch within the nation's environment its financial system experienced a perplexing crash in the values of stocks commodity prices and the attendant effect on the balance sheet of local companies.

These have joined to impose significant shortfall in the financial positions of banks and customers in the Nigerian financial environment was able to modestly record an encouraging performance in the period under review. It is an indisputable opinion that the cold environment is attributable to increased level of non-performing loans and cost pressures in reduced profit margins.

Financial Performance:
Umuchinemere Pro-credit Finance Bank's financial performance 2008 though may not be as we had projected, in terms of profit target. Was a clear testimony of our commitment and adherence to our mission statement of being "a micro finance bank with ethical standards, offering best-in-class financial products and services that are innovative, socially responsible, customer-focused, grass root and community-oriented, promoting sustainable stakeholder participation and integral human development", leading us, as our Motto states, to improving the dignity of man through hard work, honesty self reliance in making money work for the human being.

In the face challenges and operating under a new climate and testing circumstances in banking business, we were able to raise our head higher in making reasonably above average mark in our performance and goods delivery, which was a hallmark of conscious, pragmatic, responsive and timely business decisions and approach by the Board and Management of the bank.

We were able to ingeniously and systematically manage our risks, de-leverage our Balance Sheet and reduce our exposure to protect the bank from risks in the market.

Your bank was very mindful about branch expansion and infrastructure initiatives, acquisition and enhancement, our cost to income status at the bank during the period under review, was considerably at a low level, which comparatively by Nigerian banking standard was remarkable.

In tune with our resolve to empower the active poor rural populace and encourage them to refrain from informal banking lifestyle and embrace the formal micro banking system, we established a Customer Relations Office (CRO) at Amokwe, in the Udi Local Government area of Enugu State in November 2008,

In the overall performance of our bank in the year 2008, we recorded a gross earnings growth of ₦198,877,268.82 from the ₦147,481,054.87 we had in the previous year, an increase of 35% while our Net Asset/Shareholders Funds at the year ended (2008) was a total ₦252,860,529.01, as against the 2007 record of N198,840,096.76. Our total liabilities portfolio for the period under review was total of ₦942,197,333.40. With your consent, my distinguish fellow stakeholders, our proposed payable Divided after taxation for the year under review is ₦27,462,524.95 (15 kobo per share) and it would interest you to know that our customer figure increased from 44,000 as at year 2007 to 55.000 clients, representing a 25% rise in the period.

Directors and Management:
In the period under review, we had no changes in our Board of Directors. And I am proud to say here that we have committed Board of Directors that is focused towards ensuring a steady and big progress of the Bank, just as the Management that was infused with new blood for stronger vitality and increased productivity. These two units need more encourage.

Human Capital:
As at December 31, 2008, your bank had a total workforce of 74 permanent staff members and 30 ancillary workers. We employed some new hands to complement the efforts of the old ones, in pursuit of our resolve to meet our goal to eradicate poverty among our people.

Corporate Governance:
Dearest Stakeholders, it is on record that we have a well established tradition of maintaining best practice in Corporate Governance in the industry. Our system is hinged on the strict independence and separation of the Board's oversights responsibilities and the Management structure, with our governance principle and attitude not being restricted to just the confines of the Legal and Regulatory requirements, but also creating room for laudable initiatives, innovations and ingenuity towards the accomplishment of our set goals, while maintaining high ethical standards and credibility. For us, attainment of greater heights and living up to our social responsibilities with a good track record as a responsible corporate citizen also remain our focus. We strive to always be a good reference point in corporate governance in the country, and even beyond.

2009:
Though this AGM ordinarily ought to sincerely regret the delay, which however is neither the fault of the Board nor that of the management but that of the delay in receiving our Approval Audited Account. We hope the situation will improve with the 2009 report. However, it is our projection to record greater achievements, stronger Corporate governance, more profit, more empowerment of the poor, enhancement of shareholders' Fund, etc.

Conclusion:
Before I wind up this statement, let me use this opportunity to thank the Catholic Bishop of Enugu who is the President and Legal Holder of the Bank representing the Catholic Community, which spirit and brand is the leading driving force behind the bank and its success. It is upon the Catholic character (universality) that our bank makes it strides and progress. We count on your continued blessings and support, especially at this time.

We thank members of the Board for their immense contributions to the sustenance of your bank; the management Team and staff for loyalty and service, co-operation and industry to achieving our corporate objectives in the period under review; our highly valued and appreciated customers for their unflinching loyalty and tenacious patronage, and of course, you my esteemed fellow shareholders, for the obvious support and unwavering confidence you have always reposed in us.

As we look forward with great hope and strong faith that the year 2009 will be more rewarding, successful and exciting, I thank you most sincerely Ladies and Gentlemen for your kind and rapt attention.

Rev. Prof. Msgr. Obiora Ike
Chairman, Board of Directors

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