By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Access Bank Group (www.AccessBankPlc.com), along with 5th Chukker, The Access Bank UK and Access Private Bank (www.AccessPrivateBank.com) hosted the 10th annual ‘Access Bank Polo Day’ at the Guards Polo Club, Windsor.
The annual event is part of its continued support of UNICEF and the climax to the high-profile Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament, celebrating a decade of commitment to UNICEF projects and aimed at reaching out to and highlighting the plight of vulnerable children and orphans and internationally displaced persons.
From its’ base with 5th Chukker in Kaduna, Nigeria, the Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield has grown to be the biggest charity polo tournament in Africa and generates interest and support from organisations and individuals across Africa for the UNICEF/Access initiative.
Since the UNICEF/Access Bank initiative was started in 2007 it has seen the rebuilding of two schools in Kaduna and more than 8,000 students sustained in continuous education, at the same time developing new school blocks and a computer literacy building all in a more secure and friendly school environment. The communities surrounding the schools are being supported with bore-holes for water, and sewing and grinding machines to secure employment and stimulate economic and social development.
Access Bank PLC group managing director and chairman of The Access Bank UK Ltd, Herbert Wigwe explained the reasons behind the Bank’s continued support for the Fifth Chukker UNICEF initiative. “We are conscious of our role as a change agent in Nigeria that can help institute socio-economic development through responsible business practice and environmental considerations,” he said. “In addition, we are continually seeking ways through which more resources can be pooled towards supporting the children. We are part of the community and as such should support its wellbeing.”
The UK event which is the culmination of the tournament was organised by The Access Bank UK Limited which has just published its Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2016. This shows impressive growth indicators including a growth in assets of 81% to £1.1bn, operating income of 27% to £25million, with profit before tax up 45% to£12.5million. Commenting on this success The Access Bank UK’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Jamie Simmonds said:
“Our objective is to grow a sustainable business through customer service excellence, and innovative solutions in trade finance, commercial banking, private banking and asset management.” The Award as Best Africa Trade Finance Bank, for the second year running, as voted by CFI-Co readers and contributors is testimony to the value of our principles of relationship-based banking, growing our business through the depth and quality of customer relationships, while at the same time maintaining a moderate appetite for risk. “Our achievements owe a great deal to the strong partnership that we have with our parent company, as evidenced by our joint support of the Access Bank Day at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor.”
ICPC Arrests Sterling Bank Managers for Hoarding N258m New Notes
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Two Sterling Bank managers in Abuja have been apprehended by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
A statement from the ICPC disclosed that its operatives arrested the Regional and Service Managers of the financial institution last Friday for hoarding N258 million in the bank’s vault.
The new Naira notes were given to Sterling Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disbursement to customers to ease the tension caused by Naira scarcity.
“As part of ongoing efforts at ensuring that commercial banks comply with the CBN’s directive on the distribution of the redesigned Naira notes, operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) last Friday discovered the sum of N258 million stashed in the vault of Sterling Bank in Abuja.
“This discovery followed one of the commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive.
“When the ICPC monitoring team visited the bank and discovered the stashed new Naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.
“The team, however, found out that only the sum of N5 million each was distributed to their various branches.
“Both the Regional and Service Managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while the investigation continues,” the statement issued by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, stated.
Wema Bank Gives Nigerians Option to Buy New Samsung Diamond Series on Credit
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerians intending to purchase the new Samsung Diamond Series phones but are short of funds can now fulfil their fantasy through Wema Bank Plc.
The financial institution, through its digital banking arm, Wema by ALAT, has partnered with the South Korean manufacturing giant, Samsung Electric Industries, to sell smartphones to customers in Nigeria.
According to the Chief Digital Officer of Wema Bank, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, prospective buyers can make a partial payment or buy on credit for any of the models in the series.
“This partnership between ALAT and Samsung will simplify the acquisition of high-end gadgets, provide customers with multiple payment options, and simplify logistics,” he stated.
“Our current and prospective customers who desire to own any of the models of the new Samsung Diamond Series phones can pre-order their choice on ALAT.
“They can also choose their preferred pick-up locations, and their orders will be delivered to their preferred destination,” he explained.
Additionally, Mr Adeniyi encouraged prospective buyers to take advantage of the partnership’s partial payment and credit options.
“Customers can either make full payment or pay a 30 per cent equity contribution from their selected account, after which the devices can be picked up at the preferred locations selected on their Pre-Order Forms.
“Individuals who wish to buy on credit can do so through the device loan feature on ALAT.” The banker added.
The bank noted that while customers will be notified by email or phone call through one of their contact agents when their order is delivered to their preferred locations, those who want to track the status of their orders can do so via telephone at 07000PURPLE or 08039003700, or via WhatsApp chat at 09044411010.
Naira Scarcity: CIBN Urges Customers to Stop Attacks on Banking Facilities
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The professional body for bankers in the country, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), has appealed to citizens of the nation to be patient and remain calm over the hardship caused by the scarcity of new Naira notes in the financial system.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) changed the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations and asked residents of the country to return the old currency notes.
Since the apex bank extended the deadline of the currency swap on January 29, 2023, to February 10, 2023, Nigerians have been made to spend almost the whole day withdrawing about N20,000, and in some cases, ATMs are unable to dispense cash to customers, fanning outrage among the people, who are already frustrated by the effect of the Naira redesign policy.
Their anger further rose after reports of security officials arresting bank managers who hoarded the new notes and failed to load their ATM terminals for customers to withdraw cash, resulting in attacks on banking facilities.
Worried by this, the CIBN issued a statement on Tuesday to appeal to the banking public to exercise patience, promising that efforts are being made by stakeholders to address the issue.
In the statement signed by the Registrar/Chief Executive of CIBN, Mr Akin Morakinyo, the group expressed sympathy “with the banking public on the difficulties encountered in accessing the new Naira notes which heightened tension and, in some cases, provoked acts of violence at different customer touchpoints.”
“Whilst we understand the plight of bank customers, we passionately appeal for calm and understanding as the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the operators, the banks, are working assiduously to bring the situation under control.
“Relevant stakeholders within the ecosystem are being engaged with a view to addressing the unintended consequences of the laudable Naira redesign policy.
“To this end, we beseech the general public to eschew any act capable of exacerbating the current situation and exercise restraint while we enjoin all our members to carry on their duties with utmost professionalism and diligence.
“The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, the umbrella professional body for banks and bankers, is confident that this phase will pass with the cooperation of all and sundry, and our country Nigeria will come out of this stronger,” it further said.
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