When Ruth Zaipuna, NMB Bank’s Acting Managing Director, welcomed shareholders to the bank’s annual general meeting early June 2020, it was the first-ever hybrid virtual event that saw her doing so without standing before shareholders in person.
In total, over 1,000 NMB shareholders participated at the meeting and few of them were attended at the bank’s headquarters after practicing social distancing and intensive hygiene and sanitation measures, in compliance with all directives of health authorities to protect attendees against the transmission of COVID-19.
As per regulatory requirement NMB as a listed financial entity has to carry an AGM every year and this was posing a challenge due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, due to the pre-investment in digital transformation of NMB operations, this was easily mitigated by carrying the 20th AGM utilising the digital platform.
“From its inception, NMB has always placed a strong emphasis on innovation and technological transformation as a means of enhancing agility, while also developing deeper relationships with all stakeholders. Our hosting of the country’s first hybrid virtual AGM is another great example of this commitment in action,” Zaipuna said.
She called it a “significant change.”
NMB boss added, “These traits have served to improve our resilience, diversify our products, and improve our service delivery in an increasingly complex industry. These strategies were also instrumental in securing Tsh148 billion in annual profit after tax.”
According to her, the virtual (Digital) AGM has been a monumental step in supporting the adoption, increased use and advancement of new technologies in the country as Tanzania strives to create a digitally supported national economy.
At the AGM, shareholders approved Tsh48 billion in dividend, which is an increase of 45 per cent to its prior year dividend payout.
She pointed out that the first-ever digital AGM format will be replicated by other banks in the next few weeks, insisting that this will influence other listed firms to follow what NMB has done.
She was responding to a question by this paper on what did they do to register such a huge milestone.
Further, Zaipuna noted that for the past decade, the 2020 AGM recorded the highest number of attendees clarifying that the no AGM has ever registered more than 6,000 shareholders a situation which shows that virtual AGM is more successful and more representative than the physical one.
She assured that after the COVID-19 crisis, they are leveraging on the best of technology in digital banking innovative products like NMB Mkononi, Internet banking, Cashless payments through point of sales and also NMB Wakala.
She added that with online meeting, you save a lot of time. You can broadcast the meeting online from your office, so that no one loses any more travel time.