Chairman's Statement at the 2010 AGM

Chairman's Statement at the 2010 AGM

Your Excellency, Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Dr. C.V.C. Onaga,
Monsignori, Reverend Fathers and Sisters,
Distinguished Shareholders,
Customers and stakeholders of our Listening Bank,
Invited guests, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.

"In the year 2010, a process took place at UP-MFB Ltd based on the realization that HOPE is a key value for Humanity, without which life is unthinkable. The realization made the fact of Hope concrete, for, Founded on Hope, every other human enterprise thrives. Using the tools of Microfinance in impacting positively on the lives of people, especially of rural dwellers, UPMFB Ltd set for itself a role to design new partnerships, products and financial services to reach the active poor in Nigeria, in line with the CBN policy guidelines set up in 2005.

The action in realizing this hope for our people is the result we share with all our stakeholders as we gather for this Annual General Assembly of members of our Bank for year 2010, holding today, the 21st of October, 2011 at the venue of the Ofu Obi Africa centre, Enugu. I have therefore the great honour and pleasure to welcome all of you, esteemed Shareholders, members of Board, management staff, our customers, friends, partners and regulators of the banking industry. Our theme for this year's AGM is HOPE, which is beyond all Hopelessness, a virtue you all will agree with me, has kept human societies over several generations going."

Whereas the United Nations Millennium Development Goals at the turn of a new Millennium in year 2000, pointed to a vision for the world and its peoples to bring the poverty level less by reducing it with 50 percent by year 2015, build a sure, secure and more prosperous world for citizens of nations, promote more justice and means with resources through the right policies and measures that serve this objective, we are aware that four years ahead of this timeframe, the reality on ground in many countries, including Nigeria in 2010 showed that poverty and injustice was actually growing. The phenomenon of Boko Haram, street children, increased number of refugees due to ethnic and interrelations conflicts, failed banks, corporate greed, corruption and inept political leadership continued to stare Nigerians squarely on the face.

Year 2010 was a year of election-eve fever, political manipulations, economic instability and world wide trends pointing to pessimism, the opposite of Hope. Umuchinemere Microfinance bank kept the Hope of its founders alive, those founders that include Most rev Michael Ugwu Eneja, Chief Gabriel Akachukwu, the Clergy, religious and laity of Enugu Diocese to mention but a few with a new style of Microfinance services founded on ethics, compassion, action for the poor, economic justice and promotion of the basic values of the Gospel that include Hard work, Integrity, ethical Investment, selfless Service, respect for the Common Good, Solidarity, the theory of Small is beautiful, Patience, Aversion for greed, Consistency and Honesty. Our Bank survived one of the worst years of the financial services and Banking Industry in Nigeria and Worldwide.

once again it is my privilege and great pleasure to welcome you to the 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Umuchinemere Procredit Micro Finance Bank, the bank that "makes money work for you". We thank God for his benevolence and mercies which as usual, overhelmed and accomplished us throughout our operations last year. Indeed we are "Umuchinemere".

In year 2010, the world's economy was characterized by gross instability which stemmed largely from the gnawing global economic crunch besieging nations. The socio - political crisis in many countries made the situation more complex, resulting in a turbulent and volatile financial/business environment.

In Nigeria, the situation was not better of. In an effort to adjust to the prevailing global economic situation, the Central Bank of Nigeria rolled out financial and fiscal policies that rendered banking business a fragile venture. It embarked on a strict reformation of the nation's financial system by repealing the Universal Banking Guidelines and issuing the New Prudential Guidelines for banks and the Regulation on the scope of Banking Activities and Ancillary Matters. It equally among other directives ordered that banks be recapitalized and that Board members, Chief Executive Officers and Management staff of banks attend re-certification programmes organized by the CBN to affirm their competence for the positions.

As a result of these, some banks lost their feet and closed shop; some others existed on the CBN Intervention fund or emerged with their counterparts, while many retrenched their staff. Several banks recorded losses at the end of their financial year.

This crisis in the financial system trickled down heavily to the micro finance segment in spite of the model on which the system is founded. The CBN and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) embarked on a target examination of all Micro Finance banks in the country which led to the withdrawal of the operating license and consequent closure of two hundred and twenty four (224) of them in October 2010.

In the face of all these, UPMFB remained focused and evolved strategies which strengthened and recharged its operations thereby keeping afloat the storm.

The above mentioned operating environment notwithstanding, our bank was able to make noticeable progress in the some areas in the financial year under review. Its asset base increased from ₦l,329,5 90,120 in December 2009 to ₦l, 474,040,319 in December 2010. The paid up share capital rose from ₦222,181,570 in December 2009 to ₦247,916,510 in December 2010. The year recorded a positive change in the Staff strength of the bank from 16 main staff and 30 ancillaries in 2009 to 82 main staff and 34 ancillaries in 2010. The Bank's Customer base in 2010 was 43,172 as against 31,782 in 2009. Due to the afore mentioned economic situation in the country, the net operating income generated by the bank reduced from ₦250,937,601 in 2009 to ₦178,151,236.00 in 2010. The Shareholders fund equally reduced from ₦360, 558,846 in 2009 to ₦392,514,853 in 2010 as a result of adjustments and additional provisions including total write offs of bad debts. The bank gallantly defied all odds and was able to make a profit before tax of ₦27,941,303 at the end of its financial year.

With its experience of community - based development, informal methods of financial intermediation and in line with its vision of "offering best in class financial products and services that are innovative, socially responsible, customer focused and gross root and community oriented", our bank stretched its tentacles to Agbani where it opened a branch on the 9th of November 2010. The tremendous performance of the branch can best be acclaimed by our customers who enjoy the services being rendered by the branch. In the same vein, a Customer meeting point was opened at Ugbo odogwu on the 14th of June 2011.

It is with delight that I inform you that the CBN in 2010 gave its approval that two of our meeting points (Abakpa and Ninth mile) be raised to the status of branches. The Ninth mile branch is presently on the verge of packing into the property which was acquired to serve as its permanent office. The bank has once more forwarded applications to the CBN for approval to operate as a State Micro Finance Bank and to convert our customer meeting points at Godfrey Okoye University and Agbani road to branches. At the moment, the UPMFB operates four (4) branches and eleven (11) customer meeting points.

On this note," am pleased to inform you that our journey as a bank since inception; our humble beginnings, gradual growth and giant strides in the banking business have been documented and will be made available to all and sundry by the end of this year.

Our activities over years, especially during the year under review increased the reputation of the bank and attracted investors and collaborators from near and far. At the moment, the Enugu State Government (ENSG) is finalizing its arrangement with the bank on the management of a fresh batch of 200 taxis to be added to number already plying the city under the Coal City Cabs Scheme. You may recall that as at our AGM for year 2009, the UPMFB Ltd through its subsidiary company, Coal City Cabs Fleet Managers Ltd was already managing 500 taxis and 8 shuttle buses for the Enugu State Government.

Permit me to use this opportunity to state unequivocally that our bank remains open to partnership with well- meaning and serious minded individuals and corporate bodies and that we shall continue to strategize towards delivery of long-term value to our esteemed shareholders.

The year under review recorded no change in the composition of the board of directors of the bank. It is however worthy of mention that in the first quarter of year 2011, one of our Board Directors, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien, a seasoned economist and skilled investment manager graciously tendered her resignation from membership of the Board. The Board therefore wishes to present for your approval, the appointment of Rev Fr Anthony Igwe (in charge of shares mobilization for Enugu diocese); Mr Obu (the diocesan auditor) and Mrs Enebcchi of the CWO to the membership of the Board to fill the vacancies which arose out of the resignation of other members. The central Bank of Nigeria and the regulatory bodies shall still be requested to give approval of these persons as members of the Board of UPMFB Ltd if they so consider.

Owing to the consistent growth and spread of the bank, coupled with the directives and policy guidelines of our regulatory bodies, certain changes were made in the designation and deployment of some Management staff. Mr. Charles Ozor was re-designated as Head of Operations. Mr. Chijioke Iheanacho was promoted to the post of Regional Manager in charge of Udi and Ezeagu zones and substantive Manager of Ninth Mile branch. Mr. Fabian Ozoana who was formerly the Internal Auditor of the bank, was made the Branch Manager of the new Abakpa branch and Mr. Stephen Nnamani was appointed to assume his position.

Mr. John Umeh ascended to the post of Manager for Agbani branch while Mrs. Bibbian Ofoje took a new seat as the Head of Finance and Accounts of the bank. Members of staff participated in several trainings and workshops to enhance their competence during the year under consideration. To that effect, the Managing Director, Mrs. Nnenna Ekete and Mrs. Bibbian Ofoje participated in the CBN Micro finance Certification programme for Management staff of Micro Finance Banks and numbered among the very few candidates who emerged successful. They were subsequently inducted as members of the Institute of Bankers. They now bear the title of MICROFINANCE CERTIFIED BANKER (MCIB).

Following the directives of our regulators, bank's Board Committees is being reconstituted to; conform with statutory stipulations and at the same time incorporate individuals whose skills and wealth of experience would add value to bank's businesses.

We intend to have the following Board Committees:

Audit Committee
Establishment Committee
Share Mobilization Committee
Security Committee
Public Relations Committee
Investment Committee
ICT Committee
Credit/Risk Management Committee
Directors' Remuneration Committee
General Purpose Committee

It is not an overstatement to say that Corporate Governance in UPMFB Ltd is second to none. The bank is blessed with a Board of Directors who at all times discharge their duties honestly and with utmost good faith bearing in mind, the best interests of the bank. There abounds, a clear delineation of duties between the Board and Management. Each functions in a manner that bespeaks transparency and credibility devoid of selfish interests. The CBN and NDIC officials during their target examination visit to the bank testified to this fact by rating corporate governance in UPMFB satisfactory.

As we ruminate over our activities within the past year, I wish to inform you that the Board Management and Staff of UPMFB, "our listening bank" are poised to lift the bank to a higher level, bearing in mind its vision of being "a bank with ethical standards, offering best in class financial products and services...." It is our hope that in the coming year, our aspiration to be a veritable tool for poverty alleviation and economic evangelization within our environs will be realized through our service delivery to the active poor and expansion to rural areas.

We are faced with the challenges of delays by some customers in the repayment of loans administered as and when due, resulting in the write off of such debts from our reserves. We therefore urge you to render assistance to ensure that facilities borrowed from the bank are promptly repaid. We equally invite you to beef up your equity participation in the bank which will earn you more returns on your investment and at the same time enable the bank to acquire assets necessary for its growth and expansion.

We are indeed indebted to His Excellency the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. C. V C. Onaga for his fatherly care and solid support to our bank. May I use this opportunity to inform you Utatas requested during the last AGM, the Catholic Diocese of Enugu has increased its shareholding in our own bank, to the extent that one can state without fears that the Catholic Diocese of Enugu is indeed the statutory owner of UPMFB Ltd.

We wish to express our gratitude to the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Barr. Sullivan I. Chime for the confidence reposed in us in partnering with us towards improving the lives of the citizens of Enugu state and beyond. We are grateful especially, for the choice of'us as the sole Manager of the Enugu State Coal City Cabs Transportation Scheme. We also thank the officials of the ENSG who are directly involved in the enterprise. We equally thank our valued customers for wisely choosing to dc business with us. We also extend our sentiments of gratitude to our correspondent'l,banks for tfreif untiring assistance to us.

Finally, on behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of UPMFB, I thank immensely our invited guests and all present for making out time to be with us this day and for your rapt attention. I ask God to bless you all. Thank you.

Mgr. Obiora Ike
Chairman, Board of Directors

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