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CBN Converts Debited Banks’ Excess CRR to Special Bills

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Godwin Emefiele CBN Governor

By Dipo Olowookere

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced what it called CBN special bills aimed to boost liquidity in the financial system.

The bills, according to information gathered by Business Post, were created from the excess cash reserve ratio (CRR) the banking sector regulator deducted from deposit money banks (DMBs).

The CBN made some debits from the CRR of banks. These funds were kept at the central bank but in order to ensure that Nigeria quickly gets out of the recession it fell into the second time in four years in the third quarter of 2020, the apex bank is making the cash available to banks for lending to their customers.

In a circular issued by the bank on Monday, the CBN said it has approved the release of the excess above regulatory minimum CRR of banks through the issuance of the CBN special bills.

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“The CBN on November 30, 2020, approved the release of the excess above regulatory minimum CRR of banks.

“This is part of measures to improve liquidity and support economic recovery through the increased extension of credit facilities to the real sector.

“This will be accomplished through the issuance of CBN special bills with a tenor of 90 days, subject to roll over at the instance of the CBN,” the circular signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, said.

The CBN later released another circular also signed by Bello Hassan and explained that the new policy was part of its “efforts to deepen the financial markets and avail the monetary authority with an additional liquidity management tool.”

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It further explained that the new CBN special bills will have a three-month tenor, zero-coupon with the applicable yield at issuance to be determined by the apex bank and that the instrument will be tradable amongst banks, retail and institutional investors.

It further said the “instrument shall not be accepted for repurchase agreement transactions with the CBN and shall not be discountable at the CBN window, and the instrument will qualify as liquid assets in the computation of liquidity ratio for deposit money banks.”

Concluding, the circular said, “The CBN will continue to ensure optimal regulation of systemic liquidity and promote efficient financial markets in support of economic recovery and sustained growth.”

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The CRR is the specified minimum amount of the total deposits of customers commercial banks are required to keep as reserves and in Nigeria, it is 27.5 per cent.

This is not the first time the CBN is making CRR refund to banks.

In July 2020, after making deductions of over N2 trillion from the commercial banks over CRR violations, it made a refund of N300 billion to the system, which crashed the money market rates by 4.58 per cent to 15.65 per cent.

Banks CRR CBN Special Bills

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

London Stock Exchange Lists Ecobank $350m Sustainability Bond

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ecobank retail bank

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The $350 million sustainability bond issued by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group, has been listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The green bond was admitted on the LSE on Wednesday at a virtual ceremony to open the market for the trading day and celebrate the successful listing of the tier-2 environment-friendly notes, the first by a financial institution in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The bond, which matures in June 2031, has a call option in June 2026 and was issued with a coupon of 8.75 per cent with interest payable semi-annually in arrears.

An equivalent amount of the net proceeds from the notes will be used by Ecobank to finance or refinance new or existing eligible assets as described in the bank’s Sustainable Finance Framework.

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The tier-2 issuance is the first to have a Basel III-compliant 10NC5 structure outside of South Africa in 144A/RegS format.

It was gathered that investor interest for this sophomore Eurobond issue was global, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, achieving a 3.6x oversubscribed order book of over $1.3 billion at its peak.

The joint lead managers and book runners in the transaction were Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank.

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“The strong global interest in our issuance reflects investors’ confidence in Ecobank’s strategy and our commitment to sustainable financing.

“We thank the LSE for hosting ETI today and look forward to value creation for all our stakeholders,” the Group CEO of Ecobank, Mr Ade Ayeyemi, said.

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Banking

CBN’s Digital Currency Will Deepen Financial Inclusion—FDC

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Summon CBN Governor

By Adedapo Adesanya

Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited has lauded the proposed plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce a digital currency, saying it will deepen financial inclusion in the country.

In a new report, FDC explained that most central banks had indicated keen interests in developing their digital currencies in response to the threats and limitations of cryptocurrency, including poor regulation, price volatility and facilitating illicit financial transactions.

The report said, “Nigeria is set to follow the global trend as it plans to launch its digital currency by year-end. Unlike crypto, digital currencies are regulated by central banks, thus giving them some level of control over the financial system.

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“On a positive note, virtual currencies would facilitate smooth financial transactions and eliminate bottlenecks associated with the use of cash (mutilated notes, forgery, cash handling charges, shortages). It will also deepen financial inclusion and increase the velocity of circulation.”

The analysis highlighted the rising concerns of distrust in the government and its policies, cybersecurity and inadequate digital infrastructure.

“All these could limit the launch and widespread use of the digital currency in the country,” it said.

According to the report, the drop in inflation rate in May for the second straight month contradicts market reality following the report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which disclosed that the country’s inflation rate fell to 17.93 per cent in May from 18.12 per cent in April.

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FDC said contrary to analyst expectations, the decline in consumer price inflation seemed to be more of a trend than a blip.

It said the headline inflation fell again in May primarily due to a fall in the food sub-index to 22.28 per cent from 22.72 per cent in April.

This is coming as the CBN last year issued a circular asking commercial banks and other financial institutions to close accounts transacting in, or operating on, cryptocurrency exchanges.

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All deals involving cryptocurrency are now prohibited with severe regulatory sanctions awaiting erring outfits.

The apex bank also asked commercial banks to identify persons and or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.

But since the apex bank announced its intention to introduce a digital currency for the country, it has been applauded.

Apart from the FDC, other analysts have submitted that the proposed CBN’s digital currency would benefit the nation, especially as the digital asset is becoming widely accepted across the globe.

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Banking

CIBN to Revamp Banking Practice in Nigeria With A-TEAM Initiative

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CIBN A-TEAM Initiative

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A strategic initiative aimed to revamp banking practice in Nigeria has been introduced by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

The new plan with the acronym A-TEAM means Accelerated Development; Technology and Digital Enhancement; Engagement for Growth; Accountability and Transparent Leadership and Membership Drive for Value.

As part of efforts for its successful implementation, the CIBN is seeking collaborations with financial institutions in the country.

Recently, the President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, Mr Bayo Olugbemi, visited Ecobank Nigeria and he said the A-TEAM initiative will benefit stakeholders in the banking sector.

He applauded Ecobank’s consistent support for the institute over the years to ensure the realisation of its mandate of determining the standards of knowledge and skills development for those seeking to become members of the banking profession.

“We applaud Ecobank Academy as the first corporate member to become a member of the Global Business School Network and for the consistent support for the realisation of the institute’s mandate of determining the standards of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the banking profession.

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“We, therefore, seek Ecobank’s collaboration and enlistment in our Endowment/Prize Awards in any subject of interest; support towards the renovation of Abuja Bankers’ House; support for the establishment of banking museum by donating artefacts and other relevant materials; and to participate actively in training programmes of the institute,” Mr Olugbemi said.

Further, he congratulated Ecobank Nigeria and the Ecobank Group on winning several International awards, which includes the Best Retail Bank in Nigeria by Asian Banker; Africa’s Best Bank for Corporate Responsibility by Euromoney (Ecobank Group); African Bank of the Year (African Banker); Innovation in Financial Services Award from African Banker (Ecobank Group); EMEA Finance African Banking Awards 2020.

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Responding, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, pledged more support and collaboration with the institute, restating that Ecobank will continue to contribute to the efforts of the organisation to become top class and remain relevant globally.

“For us at Ecobank, we are extremely proud CIBNs efforts at ensuring public discourse on the future of the Nigeria economy and the banking and finance industry.

“This is not in isolation of the ethics, professionalism, accountability, transparency, good corporate governance without losing focus of harnessing the opportunities technology has provided in the new world order. Be assured of our maximum support and collaboration at all times,” he said.

Mr Akinwuntan also identified with the efforts of the institute to raise the bar of competency and capacity building in the industry, stressing that with sound professional conduct, every banker will be held in high esteem.

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He said Ecobank was working assiduously to ensure a majority of its staff become members of the institute, adding that the bank will also provide more mentees and mentors in its mentorship programme.

“We have a medium to long term programme to ensure all Ecobank Nigeria staff become chartered members of the institute.

“At Ecobank, we take human capacity development very seriously. Some of our staff that wrote the last examinations are now chartered members of the Institute.

“We will also ensure bulk subscription of our staff. We will be nominating 30 mentors and 100 mentees to participate in the second mentorship programme,” he assured.

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