COMFORT EKELEME, Asst. Business Editor
Shareholders of Access Bank Plc have described recent recognition given to the bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well deserved, adding that Access Bank is one of most efficient financial institutions in the country.
The shareholders however, expressed satisfaction with the performances of the bank after its merger with Diamond Bank.
Access Bank was recently named the Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria for the third consecutive time at the 2019 CBN Sustainability awards held at the 2019 Bankers Committee Gala Night in Ogere, Ogun State.
The Bank was also awarded first position in other categories such as the ‘Most Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Agriculture’ and the ‘Most Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Oil and Gas’. Additional wins by the institution include the ‘Most Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Power’ and the ‘Bank of the Year in Women Economic Empowerment’.
Speaking with Daily Champion, National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PASN) Boniface Okezie who described the award as well deserved said Access Bank is doing very well in giving out loans and at the same time making good recovery when the loans mature for repayment by their customers.
He said: “Every sector of the economy benefited from Access Bank’s credit facilities, it is commendable. But from shareholders perspective, it must also translate in good dividend pay. We want the bank to commit at least 45 percent of its earnings into dividend payout. That is the promise made by board of Access Bank and we believe that is what is going to happened this year.
“But I must say here that Access Bank has done well for themselves and we are happy the way they are going and must remain focus in what they are doing by improving in their service delivery to the customers first as well as the owner of the bank,”.
Also speaking, a Shareholder Activist, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo maintained that all the awards given to Access Bank were not in any way a surprise to keen observer of the bank.
To him, “Access Bank is standing with great strides and achievements and a close look at the previous annual reports and accounts of the bank will support my submission on the bank, which recently acquired Diamond Bank through merger yet it has not stop making moves to acquire more banking institutions with its strongholds globally.
“A look at the vision and mission statements of the bank would tell one that the bank is unfolding as stated in their vision, ‘To be The World’s Most Respected African Bank”;while the mission says ‘Setting standards for sustainable business practices’. The bank is just walking the talk while every indicator is pointing to say “we have just started and the journey is far from here,” he said.
“One if the slogan of the bank which is “More Than Banking” and as stated in the year 2018 annual reports and accounts on ” Welcome Africa” that ‘The World appears to be taking notice as Access Bank leveraged on its transformation strategy to effect positive changes’ was to be relied upon, the awards given so far were the beginning of several more laurels as the bank is seriously focusing on its strategies with the high sense of determination to deliver.
“Access Bank is moving with the adage of slow and steady wins the race and as an investors in the bank, l say, l am highly impressed by the performances so far,” he stated.
National President, Constant Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Mikail said the bank has a formidable workforce that is dedicated to their day to day business transaction in a transparent manner.
He said that has given the bank an edge, adding that Access Bank took ICT as a priority in order to meet up with the latest version in digital banking.
Group Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the awards are a “testament to Access Bank’s sustainability commitment”.
He said, “Our vision is to be the world’s most respected African Bank and sustainability is critical to our achieving this.
The Bank’s Head of Sustainability, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, said, “in our determined effort to offer more than banking, we will continue to set the standards for responsible business practices and demonstrate corporate brand commitment to addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.
Access Bank has pioneered many innovative sustainability initiatives, some of which include the establishment of the first-ever disability-friendly inclusion hub to promote the access of persons with disabilities to ICT skills and opportunities – in partnership with Project Enable; the creation of a digital, toll-free platform to address gender violence – in partnership with HACEY Health Initiative; up cycling of waste and recycling of paper to pencils, among many others.
Other recognitions accorded the Bank in recent months include the ‘Outstanding Business Sustainability Award’ at the 2019 Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards; ‘Most Socially Responsible Company of the Year (Overall Winner)’ at the 2019 Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAs); ‘Bank of the Year’ Award at the 2019 Banker Awards; ‘Best Bank in Nigeria’ and ‘Best Product Launch (Pan Africa)’ Awards at the 2019 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Finance Awards.
The CBN sustainability awards, recognizes and rewards sustainability performance especially with respect to the effective implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles. The awards acknowledge the efforts of financial service providers operating in Nigeria, who have been able to successfully integrate social and environmental considerations into their business operations and activities in the year under review.
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