By Dipo Olowookere
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the appointment of Mr Roosevelt Ogbonna as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank as the current occupier of the position, Mr Herbert Wigwe, plans to leave.
A statement from the lender said Mr Ogbonna, who is presently the Deputy Managing Director of the bank, will assume office on May 2, 2022.
The new MD is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy Business School. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from IMD Business School, Switzerland.
He is taking over from Mr Wigwe, who has now been appointed as the Group MD of Access Holdings Plc following the completion of the scheme of arrangement between Access Bank Plc, which is now a banking subsidiary, and holders of its fully-paid ordinary shares of 50 kobo each resulting in the listing of Access Holdings as the parent entity of the lender and related group companies on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.
Mr Wigwe, a financial expert with over 30 years of professional experience, has been the MD/CEO of Access Bank since 2014.
He joined the company in 2002. Before then, he worked at GTBank and spent more than 10 years, rising to become the Executive Director in charge of Institutional Banking.
Also, the CBN has approved the appointment of Mr Victor Etuokwu as the Deputy MD of Access Bank in charge of Retail North.
Mr Etuokwu was appointed as an Executive Director of the bank in 2012 and was renewed in 2022 following the expiration of his second tern. He has nearly 30 years of banking experience cutting across Operations, Information Technology, Business Development and Retail Banking.
He started his professional career in Citibank Nigeria where he served in various capacities, including Head of Operations and Records and Reconciliations. He joined Access Bank in 2003 and has led several critical projects including the merger with the defunct Intercontinental Bank and Diamond Bank.
In addition, the appointment of Mrs Chizoma Okoli as the Deputy MD for Retail South has been authorised by the apex. She was an executive trainee in the defunct Diamond Bank and rose to become an Executive Director in 2016.
Mrs Okoli joined the board of Access Bank after Diamond Bank merged with Access Bank in 2019 and was appointed as the Executive Director for Business Banking Division.
Speaking on the appointments, the Chairman of the board, Mr Bababode Osunkoya, said the development reflects the “robustness of our leadership succession plan and our decision to considerably strengthen our retail business while harnessing the potentials of SMEs and financial inclusion towards the attainment of the group’s strategy.”
He further said the “appointees have been selected based on their exceptionally rich, professional, academic and corporate board experiences, which are all relevant to the needs of our board.
“We are deeply convinced that their skills will no doubt continue to add significant value to our bank’s quest to become Africa’s Gateway to the World.”
Meanwhile, Mr Adeolu Bajomo has resigned his position as the Executive Director in charge of Information Technology and Operations of Access Bank with effect from September 30, 2022, to pursue “other personal interests.”
CBN Advocates Collaboration to Grow Payments Ecosystem
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is moving to strengthen the digital payments ecosystem and position Nigeria firmly on the global payments landscape with more collaboration.
This is in line with its commitment to deepen and stimulate the growth of digital payment in Nigeria and beyond.
This was the crux of a two-day event tagged Collaborating for Industry Growth and Profitability held by integrated digital payments and e-commerce company, Interswitch Group, where industry players gathered to discuss how to strengthen the ecosystem.
The industry leaders, drawn from banks, fintechs, micro-finance banks, telcos and other financial institutions, reached the resolve that designing innovative financial products which speak to the needs of customers will spur growth and economic prosperity.
The experts also noted that players in the financial space need to synergize to explore avenues for mutual growth, which will in turn create a robust payment ecosystem.
Speaking at the event, Mr Jimoh Musa, Director, Payment System Management Department, CBN, said the lender’s responsibility as a regulator is to create an enabling environment where all the entrants can thrive and compete healthily.
“We understudy all the interoperable operations of each technology company, and all the participants generally. And from time to time, we bring all these entities together to dialogue to enable us to decide what the best industry practice is in relation to Nigeria’s payment ecosystem.”
During the two-day event, Interswitch officially unveiled eight new products designed to address prevailing issues within the payments ecosystem, enhance business development and boost customer experience.
The products include Fintech-in-a-box; Fraud Solution-as-a-Service (FSAAS); Banking-as-a-Service; Payment-as-a-Service; Interswitch Security-as-a-Service; Mobile Banking-as -a-Service, and Biometrics on POS and Value financing.
These products are tailored to provide seamless payment solutions to banks, fintechs, micro-finance banks, other financial institutions and their customers. Essentially, these products will help to improve the digital payment solutions that financial institutions offer to their customers.
Critical points the products will be solving include protecting customers against digital payment fraud, effective value financing tools for lenders, seamless integration to payment channels, enhanced customer experience etc.
Speaking during the panel session, Mr Akeem Lawal, Managing Director, Interswitch Purepay, said players in the payment industry must collaborate to provide opportunities to co-create solutions that make digital payment safer and further drive profitability.
He said “Interswitch is committed to partnering with stakeholders to drive financial inclusion through its innovative products and solutions continuously. These products reaffirm the company’s continued drive to improving Nigeria’s digital payments landscape through innovation and the development of first-rate solutions and infrastructure that address pressing needs in the payments ecosystem”.
Mr Lawal further said Interswitch would continue to enter partnerships that will not only simplify payments but also drive prosperity across the continent.
The panellists noted that partnerships would allow players to increase revenue and grow faster, avail them opportunities to leverage one another’s infrastructure, drive financial inclusion and build a robust ecosystem, urging players to collaborate more to provide quality service for the end users to enhance growth and more opportunities.
First Bank Stops Use of Naira Cards for International Transactions
By Dipo Olowookere
From Friday, September 30, 2022, customers of First Bank will no longer be able to use their Naira cards for international transactions, Business Post reports.
This development is triggered by the scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) in Nigeria, the financial institution confirmed in a message to its customers on Wednesday.
The lender disclosed that for customers to complete their offshore transactions, they would have to obtain multicurrency cards, which allow them to spend up to $10,000.
Nigerian banks have struggled to meet the FX demands of their customers because of a shortage in supply despite the prices of crude oil rising in the global market.
The government had blamed attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region of the country as well as oil theft as the reason for low crude oil output.
It was reported that last month, the oil production of Nigeria went down below one million barrels, making it difficult for the nation to earn more from crude oil sales.
“Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on September 30, 2022.
“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000,” the message sent by First Bank to its customers today stated.
Despite the apparent FX supply crisis in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has maintained that those who genuinely need forex should go through the official market, which is primarily the commercial banks.
The apex bank had maintained that sourcing FX through the black market was illegal. It also described the platform as insignificant in the FX market, saying it only accounts for 5 per cent of the landscape.
PecanTrust Disburses N5bn Loans to Customers in Six Years
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The fast-growing financial institution, PecanTrust Microfinance Bank, has disbursed loans worth N5 billion to customers in six years.
The lender started operations six years ago after it received a licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a financial institution saddled with the responsibility of giving loans to Nigerians.
Since it received this authority to operate as a microfinance bank, PecanTrust has focused on alleviating poverty by providing access to finance for affordable social infrastructure services, including healthcare, education and housing as well as prioritising women-led businesses.
In this period, the lender has remained consistent in its focus on increasing financial inclusion in Nigeria and reaching unbanked customers nationwide.
In line with this mission, the bank has designed tailored savings and loan products for these customers, such as the Pecan Ajo savings and other Pecan SME finance loans. The bank has also implemented an aggressive strategy to introduce its customers to its agency banking platform nationwide.
In addition to its financial inclusion strategy, the bank recently unveiled its USSD application with value-added features and service delivery levels to the market.
“We are delighted to have had a positive impact through our financial inclusion strategies. Currently, about 60 million adults are unbanked in Nigeria, which makes it the 5th largest country of unbanked citizens globally.
“So much still needs to be done in the industry to support the CBN towards the achievement of its financial inclusion goals.
“This is why we have continued to intensify efforts to reach the unbanked and ultimately help alleviates them from poverty. We believe with continuous steps in this direction, we can achieve our objectives,” A director of PecanTrust, Mr Taiwo Oshinusi, stated.
To accelerate growth and continue to support these strategic initiatives, and improve delivery to customers, PecanTrust has evolved into a hybrid microfinance business, building on expertise and its experience with the traditional banking business model, the bank is poised to launch its digital application in a few months to scale its business and reach a wider customer base while providing access to cheaper, faster, reliable financial services.
PecanTrust Microfinance Bank offers diversified savings and loan products and continues developing new products to meet the demand of the market.
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