Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank Plc has announced that its transitioning into a Holding Company (HoldCo) structure is nearing completion as it awaits the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for necessary approvals.
The bank disclosed this to its shareholders during an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held virtually in Lagos at the weekend. This was even as its shareholders approved the recommended dividend at the rate of N2.70 per every 50 kobo ordinary share which brings its total dividend paid for the 2020 financial year to N3 per share.
Speaking on the bank’s performance in 2020, Managing Director, Segun Agbaje, noted that whilst no one could have predicted the nature or extent of the challenges faced in 2020, the bank remained on a solid financial and operational footing, adding that the strength, scale and liquidity of its balance sheet coupled with the quality of its digital-first customer centric gave it the ability to navigate the economic shocks and market volatility that followed.
When quizzed on the bank’s HoldCo process, Agbaje said the transition was a necessary step to further proofing the bank’s leadership position, sustainably growing its earnings and achieving its long term goal of becoming one of the top 5 financial institutions in Africa.
He disclosed that the bank was still engaging the CBN to get a final approval after which an announcement will be made. “There are lots of banks who have talked about going into a holding structure and all of them are still in the state of “approval in principle”. We are the only Bank that has done the EGM which means that they have not gotten to where we are. We are there in terms of the CBN and we are expecting an announcement that the approval of HoldCo has happened and so we are well ahead of other banks.
Timing is not what is relevant in setting up an HoldCo but what is relevant is that you do it properly, execute it efficiently and flawlessly so that when the holding company is set up, it is profitable and so it is not a race against time but a race against excellence and making sure what is delivered is like exceptional’, He said.
According to Agbaje, the bank will compete more efficiently with non -banks in the new business landscape; pairing our strength in financial services with an aggressive focus on creating value in every aspect of its customers’ lives. “We believe that we are in a better position to drive an asset management business and a pension fund business given our strong retail base and digital first approach to financial services which we have honed over the past decade”, he said.