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Diamond Bank Shares N1b to 550 Small Business Owners

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Diamond Bank Shares N1b to 550 Small Business Owners

By Dipo Olowookere

Leading retail bank in the country, Diamond Bank Plc, has announced disbursing over N1 billion to small business owners through its cash flow-based SME lending scheme.

This, it explained, is part of efforts to support the Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SME), which is considered one of the important aspects of the nation’s economy.

Launched in January 2017 in partnership with the Women’s World Banking (WWB), the scheme features the Cash Flow-based MSME Lending Methodology, which has a strategic focus on cash flow, net asset capacity, character and business proficiency of SMEs as a means of determining their eligibility to access credit.

Commenting on the remarkable achievement, CEO of Diamond Bank, Mr Uzoma Dozie, stated that, “This milestone is a demonstration of our resolve to develop innovative ways of advancing financial inclusion in Nigeria and a signal to many more successes to come as we push through our technology-driven retail-focused strategy, designed to position Diamond Bank as the most profitable and fastest growing retail bank franchise in Nigeria by the year 2020.”

Under the lending scheme, the Diamond Bank was able to disburse a total of N267 million during the pilot phase, while it disbursed N750 million between June and August 2018.

Remarkably, all the loans disbursed under the scheme to the 550 small businesses are performing despite the recipients of the facilities being first-time borrowers.

“We are confident that the future of retail banking belongs to banks with disruptive business models and solutions that deliver superior customer experience through strategic alliances, as well as create life-style-focused products, processes and channels.

“We pride our financial inclusion strategy as the most robust and customer-centric in the Nigerian banking industry and will achieve more milestones through data-based initiatives that are simply, Beyond Banking,” Mr Dozie said.

Diamond Bank Plc is Nigeria’s lead driver of financial inclusion, providing enhanced customer experience through innovation and technology.

Diamond Bank is regarded as supporter of the SME sector through lending, capacity building, business seminars and workshops.

Its mobile banking app, Diamond Mobile, currently has over three million active subscribers on its platform.

Diamond Bank has over the years leveraged its underlying resilience to grow its asset base and to retain its key business relationships.

The lender has also played a leading role in partnering with domestic and International bodies such as The Gates Foundation, MTN, Medical Credit Fund (MCF), Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC) etc. to create easy access to financial services for the unbanked.

The financial institution has cultivated excellent banking relationships with well-known international banks, allowing us to provide a range of world class banking services to suit the business needs of our clients.

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

Banking

Zenith Bank Assures Budding Entrepreneurs Necessary Support to Succeed

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Budding entrepreneurs

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria have been assured by Zenith Bank Plc of all the necessary support they need to succeed and become corporate organisations capable of employing many people.

The Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, who gave this assurance last Wednesday, disclosed that this was why the bank organised the second Zenith Tech Fair themed Future Forward 2.0.

At the keenly contested hackathon session, the sum of N53 million was won by the participants, with Ecotutu, a cleantech company making cooling affordable and accessible for businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, emerging as the overall winner and taking home the grand prize of N20 million.

This is in addition to a mentorship programme with Seedstars, a company dedicated to implementing high-quality capacity-building programmes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The first runner-up, Foris Labs, an app-based platform that allows students to conduct science experiments individually and in groups interactively via their mobile phones, won N15 million and a mentorship programme.

The second runner-up, Finva, a start-up which helps creditors offer credits at low risk, won N10 million as well as a mentorship programme.

Other finalists who took home N1 million each were Sanwo, Itinu -Ev, Eduvacity, Green Bii, Zion Robotics, Sono Care, Base, and I grow Africa.

Addressing guests at the Eko Convention Centre, Mr Onyeagwu announced that “all finalists would be enlisted into our incubation lab for grooming and mentorship.

“Our expectation is that we are going to scale and grow them just like the zenith brand. So, looking at what we have gone through, I can tell you that so much iron has been loaded on fire. The only thing left is to activate the digital talents, tech skills and entrepreneurship that would culminate in a new digital economy for Nigeria.”

Described as a huge success by participants, the two-day Tech Fair featured presentations on the leading technological innovations that cut across different aspects of life, such as Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics, Big Data, FinTech, Augmented Reality, Data Analytics, 5G and Communication Technologies, with the keynote address, The Future of Banking: Digital Transformation Journey, delivered by Brett King, the renowned futurist, bestselling author, award-winning speaker, founder of Moven and Author of Bank 4.0.

The event also featured a goodwill message by the founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia.

Other eminent IT practitioners from top global brands who also made presentations included Tarik Alatovic, Senior Partner, McKinsey; Juliet Ehimuan, West Africa Director, Google; Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Inc.; Andrew Uaboi, Vice President/Head, Visa West Africa; Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, Director of Information Technology, CBN; Chris Lu, Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria, and Dame Ms Adaora Umeoji, Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, amongst others.

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Banking

Appeal Court Exonerates Zenith Bank, Fines Real Integrated & Hospitality

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zenith bank plc

By Dipo Olowookere

Justice Muhammed Sirajo of a court of appeal sitting in Lagos has upturned the judgement of Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Lagos State High Court against Zenith Bank Plc.

On March 8, 2022, Justice Abike-Fadipe directed Zenith Bank to pay Real Integrated & Hospitality Limited an interest of 15 per cent per annum on N872.8 million from May 17, 2011, when the advanced payment guarantees expired till judgment and thereafter at the rate of 10 per cent per annum until final liquidation.

The company and the Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (Gombe SUBEB) had sued the lender for an alleged breach of contract after Zenith Bank, on October 7, 2011, did not allow the firm to withdraw funds from its account.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, the financial institution filed an appeal in suit number CA/LAG/CV/262/2022.

Ruling on the matter on Wednesday, the three-man panel of the appellate court unanimously upturned the judgement of the lower court on the ground that the trial court was wrong to have presumed that the bank withheld the full account statement of Real Integrated in the light of Exhibit C6 (the comprehensive Statement of Account of Real Integrated), which was tendered by the bank for a limited purpose.

The court further held that there was no need for the lower court to have invoked Section 167 (d) of the Evidence Act, 2011 against the bank and, thereafter, awarded a cost of N200,000 against Real Integrated & Hospitality Limited and in favour of Zenith Bank.

Business Post gathered that the counsels of Zenith Bank, led by Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) and Mr Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN), had challenged Justice Abike-Fadipe’s decision to award N2.5 million against the bank as the cost of the action in favour of Real Integrated.

The legal team argued that the lender acted in full compliance with its contractual obligations in line with the Advanced Payment Guarantee (APG) contract and that the trial court was wrong in its judgement.

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Banking

CABS Zimbabwe Secures $10m Loan to Support Growth Strategy

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CABS Zimbabwe

By Dipo Olowookere

A $10 million credit facility has been obtained by Central Africa Building Society (CABS) Zimbabwe, a member of the Old Mutual Group, from Norsad Capital.

The impact investor and private creditor provider approved the loan to the bank to support its growth strategy, as the funds would be used to offer loans to CABS Zimbabwe’s export clients, particularly in the agricultural sector.

“This investment aligns with Norsad’s sectoral theme of Financial Institutions as well as the impact focus on financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods, the Investment Director at Norsad Capital and transaction lead, Ms Carol-Jean Harward, said.

“The transaction will capacitate the exporting industry by providing working capital and capital expenditure facilities to sectors in agriculture and manufacturing.

“We are excited to partner with CABS as it plays a catalytic role in unlocking opportunities to enable local farmers and SMEs to export both regionally and internationally,” she added.

In his remarks, the Deputy Managing Director of CABS, Mr Cecil Ndoro, said, “Norsad’s funding will help strengthen CABS’ balance sheet by providing medium-term funding as well as capacitating the exporting industries by providing working capital and capital expenditure facilities, thus boosting the country’s foreign currency earnings.

“As CABS, we will deploy the funds to the productive export sectors, notably agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and tourism.

“The focus will be on the generation of foreign currency, creation of employment and value chain financing for the benefit of industry players and the economy at large. The investment will promote entrepreneurship, enable growth, and improve livelihoods.”

CABS is one of the top three banks in Zimbabwe and was established as a building society in 1949 before being granted approval by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in 2011 to engage in full commercial banking operations.

The lender has 38 operational branches, over 900 agents, and the largest Point of Sales machine network of about 25,000 countrywide. This adds to its digital banking offering, which includes Mobile, Internet, and WhatsApp Banking.

The agricultural sector is key to Zimbabwe’s economy for domestic production, exports, and employment; hence, Norsad’s facility supports sustainable livelihoods and builds a better Africa by impacting lives.

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