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Standard Bank minority shareholders concerned

Standard Bank minority shareholders are questioning the criterion that is used to elect board members demanding more representation going forward.

The call was made last week during the bank’s annual general meeting held in Lilongwe. During the meeting, new directors were appointed and others re-elected.

David Pinto and Shadreck Joseph were appointed as new directors of the institution’s board while Jayesh Patel and Catherine Mtonda were re-elected as directors.

Before the item was concluded by the bank’s board chair Rex Harawa, minority shareholder questioned the criteria which they use when selecting the directors.

In an interview, one of the minority shareholders in the company Frank Harawa pointed out that the group feels left out in the decisions of the company they own, in the absence of a member of their group sitting on the board.

“We know that the minority shareholders of the bank are holding about 11 percent and in most company’s when you hold 10 percent you are entitled to sit on the board so we want the board to deliberate and give us a position as minority shareholders,” Harawa said.

He went on to say that they are trying to avoid a situation where the major shareholders appoint to the board people that would be loyal to them and fail to question some decisions which would be detrimental to the institution.

Reacting to the call, the bank’s board chairperson Rex Harawa said the board will sit and discuss the issue to map the way forward.

“We have taken note of their proposal, but as we assured them that when we are appointing a director, we don’t look at their shareholding. Some of our directors have got shareholding in the banks but some don’t,” he said.

The bank has grown its profits by 45 percent in the year ending 31 December 2016.

The report indicates that the bank registered a consolidated profit for the year of K19.4 billion, which is higher when compared to the K13.4 billion registered  in 2015.

Topping the list of the institutions income are interests which raked in K44.2 billion, representing a 58.6 percent increase when compared to the K26.6 billion interest income registered in 2015.

This comes against a background of an unstable economy in the year and continued complaints of high interest rates offered by commercial banks.

The bank’s board chairman however attributed the success to dedicated workforce.

He dismissed that the development is as a result of high interest rates being offered on the market but first-class products the bank offers to its customers.

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