By Dipo Olowookere
Ecobank Nigeria Limited has been applauded by customers for its enhanced service delivery, describing the various digital offerings of the bank as top-notch.
This commendation was given when the Managing Director/Regional Executive of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, was a guest teller at the Western Avenue branch of the bank in Lagos last Thursday.
This was part of the global Customer Service Week and all top executives of the financial institution moved around the various branches of the bank across the country to work as tellers and customer service staff, meeting and serving customers first-hand. It is also a feedback mechanism for the management of the bank.
One of the customers of Ecobank, Mr Titus Ofurum, who doubles as the Managing Director of Marigold Farming Tools, said he has been doing business with the lender for decades, stating that he has become a referral for the bank.
“I have been banking with Ecobank for years. All my companies’ accounts are domiciled in your bank. I have enjoyed tremendous, good will from your staff over the years. Besides, your services remain my attraction. I have referred many of my colleagues and family members to Ecobank,” he said.
Speaking in the same light, Mrs Adepoju Kehinde, a fashion designer, said the bank’s digital offerings such as PoS, mobile app, Ecobank Pay were impacting her business and bottom line.
She advised other small business owners to avail themselves of the various products and services of the bank. Other observations made by the customers were noted for management actions.
Mr Akinwuntan, while responding, assured that the bank was well-positioned to meet and surpass customers’ expectations through its seamless and world-class digital products and services, stressing that the various customer experience transformation initiatives of the bank are targeted at customers’ satisfaction at every interaction and touchpoint.
The Managing Director explained to the customers how the various digital offerings could improve their businesses.
“Mobile app, Ecobank online, Ecobank Pay, Ecobank Omni, Omni-lite, our *326# and our express point agencies are deployed to effectively meet your needs at all times.
“We enjoin you to take advantage of them. The whole idea is to be able to serve you, whatever the situation and this has been proven right during this pandemic period,” he stated.
He also took time to explain to the customers the inherent benefits of the e-naira policy set to be introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
First Bank Reacts to Rumoured ‘Acquisition’ by Otedola
By Dipo Olowookere
One of the news items that has dominated the business space in the past few days is the rumoured takeover of FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Limited, by Mr Femi Otedola, a businessman in the country.
It was reported that he has ‘acquired’ the lender by pumping about N30 billion into the shares of the company at the stock market, making him the single largest shareholder.
This was linked to the recent rise in the trading volume and value of FBN Holdings equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, which has spurred questions from various quarters.
But in a statement issued on Friday, the management of FBNH said it was not aware of the businessman emerging as its new shareholder, though it pointed out this could have happened as its shares are always available for purchase at the market by anybody.
In the notice signed by the company secretary, Seye Kosoko, the bank said once it receives notification from Mr Otedola, it will promptly inform the regulators about it as required.
“The attention of FBN Holdings has been drawn to media reports today, October 2021, purporting that a certain individual has acquired a significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings, therefore making him the majority shareholder of the company.
“As a listed company, shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded and sale and acquisition of shares are expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.
“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report of such acquisition. FBN Holdings will always notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholdings by the shareholders and the company’s registrars,” the disclosure read.
Femi Otedola Quietly Takes Over First Bank
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
There are reports that a billionaire businessman, Mr Femi Otedola, is coming back into the capital market on a big scale a few years after he offloaded his stake in Forte Oil, 75 per cent, which later became Ardova Plc under its new owners.
It is believed that business mogul has pounced on the crisis at FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which also recently had a board crisis, to take over the company.
According to reports, which is yet to be independently verified by Business Post, Mr Otedola, son of a late Governor of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola, is now the single majority shareholder of the first generation lender in Nigeria.
He is said to have acquired N30 billion worth of the company’s equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, where the firm is listed.
In recent times, there has been an upward movement in the share price of FBN Holdings at the stock market and this has raised many eyebrows as some investors were asking what was driving the hike.
Mr Otedola is not new to the boardroom and it is believed that his entry into the banking space would cause a disruption and make him rub shoulders with renowned bankers like Mr Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Tony Elumelu of United Bank for Africa (UBA), amongst others.
Some months ago, many observers were shocked when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sacked the boards of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria Limited and it was learnt that the financial institution has been on the life-support of the regulator.
The FBN Holdings board led by businessman, Mr Oba Otudeko was asked to leave and the CBN further ordered the bank to ensure that the debts owed by the directors, including Mr Otudeko, who sits on the board of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, should be recovered.
A few months after this directive, shares of FBN Holdings and Honeywell have enjoyed a significant rise in value, causing people to ask questions.
If the latest information is correct, it would mean that Mr Otedola was likely the reason for the uptick witnessed in First Bank stocks at the exchange lately.
It means he will have a good representation on the board of the lender and turn its fortunes around.
First Bank is yet to officially inform the investing public about this development.
Heritage Bank in Debt Crisis, Reps May Order CBN Takeover
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The banking industry in Nigeria may be plunged into another crisis if urgent steps are not quickly taken to address the issue so as to douse the looming tension.
Business Post reports that a few years ago, precisely in 2018, depositors and shareholders of Skye Bank were in a panic mood after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the lender to Polaris Bank Limited because of debts and the House of Representatives on Thursday raised an alarm that another financial institution, Heritage Bank, is allegedly swimming in huge debts.
The lower chamber of the National Assembly had invited the bank and its Managing Director, Mr Ifie Sekibo, to explain why the amount the company owes the federal government is more than its share capital, but he has failed to honour the request.
This action has infuriated the parliament, which has threatened to direct the CBN to take over the ownership of Heritage Bank if Mr Sekibo and the bank ignore their latest invite next Wednesday.
Mr Adejoro Adeogun, Chairman of the Adhoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots, Moveable and immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by agencies of the federal government for Effective and Efficient Management and Utilisation, issued this threat at the resumed hearing of the committee yesterday.
“I need to send this message to Heritage Bank that we are not comedians here and we are not joking here. If Heritage Bank owes Nigeria more than its share capital, we will not hesitate to ask the National Assembly to write to CBN to take over Heritage Bank.
“They cannot be owing more than their share capital and feel too big to respond to invitations from the National Assembly. Clerk, you have to write them, give them till Wednesday next week. That is the last time we are going to give them,” an angry Mr Adeogun barked.
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