The directors of ten banks collected N7.6 billion as fees and allowances in 2015, representing 1.58 percent of the banks’ profitability during the year. The ten banks are Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith bank, Access Bank, FirstBank, UBA, Union Bank, Diamond Bank, Sterling Bank, Fidelity and Wema Bank.
Analysis of financial statements of the banks for the 2015 financial year, reveal that the ten banks increased total money paid to 143 directors by 11 percent or N742 million, from N6.84 billion in 2014 to N7.58 billion in 2015. The amount paid to the directors represents 1.58 percent of the profit before tax of the ten banks, which stood at N480 billion in 2015. The amount paid to the directors also represented 2.0 percent of total staff salaries (personnel cost) in the ten banks.
Further analysis reveals inadequate disclosures relating to directors compensation, fees and allowances to board chairmen, and salaries of chief executive officers. For example, Wema Bank did not specify amount paid as compensation to executive directors, while Access Bank and Sterling Bank failed to disclose money paid to their chairmen and chief executive officers.
Total board expenses
GTBank led the ten banks, with N1.25 billion paid to its 14 directors in 2015, up from N1.2 billion in 2014. Zenith Bank came second, with N1.145 billion paid to 10 directors in 2015, up from N630 million in 2014. Acess Bank and FirstBank came third and fourth respectively, with N1.08 billion and N1.05 billion paid to 14 and 17 directors respectively. The fifth highest board expenses was incurred by UBA, which paid N603 million to its 16 directors in 2015, up from N600 million in 2014. Others are Union Bank-N983 million, Diamond Bank-N195 million, Sterling Bank-N265 million, Fidelity Bank-N766 million and Wema Bank-N235 million
The ten banks, with the exception of Wema Bank, paid N4.63 billion to 52 executive directors. This represented two percent decline from N4.72 billion in 2014. On the average, each executive directors got N89 million in 2015, down from N91 million in 2014. FirstBank came first as its six executive directors (E.Ds) were paid N784 million, up from N694 million in 2014. GTbank came second, with N718 million paid to six E.Ds, up from N691 million. The seven E.Ds of Access bank were paid N705 million in 2015, down from N1,12 billion in 2014. Union Bank paid its six E.Ds N625 million in 2015, up from N542 million in 2014, while Zenith Bank paid its four E.Ds N595 million in 2015, up from N414 million in 2014. UBA paid its six E.Ds N547 million, down from N555 million in 2014. Others were Diamond Bank with five EDs – 149 million, Sterling Bank with six EDs – N156 million, and Fidelity with six EDs – N346 million.
Union Bank CEO tops pay Analysis of amount paid to the highest director, the Chief Executive Officer (CEOs), by eight banks reveal the CEOs of eight banks were paid N903 million as salaries and compensations. This was 13 percent higher than the N798 million paid to the CEOs in 2014. The CEO of Union Bank received the highest pay with N208 million, representing 36 percent or N55 million increase from the N153 million earned in 2014. GTBank CEO came second earning receiving N204.9 million, up by 12 percent or N22 million from N183 million in 2014. The CEOs of UBA and Fidelity Bank came third and fourth earning N125 million and N102 million respectively in 2015, up from N116 million and N94 million in 2014. Others are FirstBank-N90 million, Zenith Bank-N78 million, Wema Bank-N70 million, and Diamond Bank-N25 million.
Shareholders call for review
Shareholders however were of the view that the amount paid to banks directors though huge and not in sync with economic realities, is necessary to prevent them from stealing depositors money, and also in view of the amount of work they have to do to generate earnings for their banks. “If the banks’ executives are well paid, the temptation of stealing depositors’ money will not arise,” stated Mr. Boniface Okezie, Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, PSAN. “However, considering the economic downturn, I think the banks can equally cut the package they take home to reflect the present economic realities. If States Governors and Ministers are cutting their salaries, I think the banks should equally follow suit.
There are some allowances for banks’ executives that need to be cut down or completely be removed. It is time for companies to tighten their belts given the global oil fall which had affected the country’s income. So, if the economy picks up, banks can review the packages paid to their executive directors. But under normal circumstances, the banks’ executive should be well remunerated given the nature of the risk they undertake. If they are under paid, then you be begin to see all kinds of stealing and rubbery in the banks through insider collaboration”, he said.
Mr. Taiwo Oderinde, Chairman, Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, PROSAN, on his part said the huge money paid to directors was unfair to shareholders. He said, “ “The banks’ executive compensations is really on the high side when you compare it to other countries. The executive directors of banks are given all kinds of allowances at the expense of depositors and shareholders. We do react on this issue when we attend Annual General Meetings, AGMs. In some cases, we refused to approve their remunerations and ask them to go back and review it. “The problem we are having as shareholders is that in some cases we don’t have shareholders’ representation on the board. By the time they set up committee to review the remuneration you will only see executive directors taking decisions. The executive directors are really feeding on shareholder’ fund and this has to be checked by the regulators in the industry. The executive directors have access to our funds and make use of it the way they like. I think there should be regulation in this aspect of emolument to stop these mouth watering packages.”
According to the Chairman, Renaissance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Ambassador Olufemi Timothy, “The banks’ executive emolument is not too much considering the earnings they make for the bank. These are people who toil all day and night to see that depositors’ money is kept safely. So the high risk element should also be another great reason why they should be paid well. Even the so called Foreign Exchange, (forex ) are kept by these banks.
Furthermore, if banks’ executives are well paid the issue of stealing or fraudulent practices would be drastically reduced or even eliminated. I believe the packages for executive directors are not too much given the volume of work they do and the income they make for the institutions.” “My position on this issue is that it should be looked at on the contribution they bring to the organisation”, stated, Mr. Nonah Awoh, a shareholder activist. “ It is not how big or how small the packages are, the concern should be on the equity remuneration of employees. What is the disparity between the Chief Executive Director and other senior management? If the differential is too high, then it is not good for the organisation. Banks should be careful if fixing remuneration so that it does not affect what they are giving to shareholders in form of returns on investment”, he said.