By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The critical role Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc played in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria has been recognised by Euromoney.
According to Euromoney, “One of the first things Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank did with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was to get in touch with local authorities to see how the bank could help.
“Recognizing that the pandemic would stretch the public healthcare system, the bank partnered with local authorities to set up a care facility for people with COVID-19.”
In recognition for this move, the renowned firm awarded the Euromoney Excellence in Leadership Africa Award to GTBank.
Commenting further, Euromoney said GTBank, which was also named Nigeria’s Best Bank for a record 10th time, “granted small and medium-sized enterprises a grace period of 90 days [which has since been extended by a further 3 months] on all loan payments.
“It is also developing other resources to help SMEs better understand and navigate the impact of the pandemic.”
Whilst being lauded for its exemplary leadership during a global crisis, GTBank is also receiving accolades for its digital drive to radically expand access to financial services and consistency in delivering the best performance across key financial indices.
Key to the bank’s emergence as Nigeria’s Best Bank at the Euromoney Awards is its leading role in driving world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation in Africa’s banking industry
The CEO of GTBank, who could not hide his excitement over this news, stated that, “We feel very humbled to be awarded the Excellence in Leadership in Africa Award and immensely proud to be named Nigeria’s Best Bank for a record 10th time.
“These awards reflect what we are all about at GTBank—giving back to society and adding value to people’s lives.
“They are also testaments to our commitment to always be there for our customers and communities as a beacon of hope, an engine of progress and a platform for enriching lives.”
He further stated that; “As we continue to navigate the fallout of this pandemic, the imperative of our time as an organization remains safeguarding our lives and livelihoods.
“This means that we will continue to lead from the frontlines by protecting our employees, serving our customers wherever they may be, helping businesses make it through these uncertain times and supporting public authorities in combatting the pandemic.”
GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions in Africa and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.
Renowned for its forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement, the bank was recently ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa.
Access Bank Gives Car to NYSC Member
By Ahmed Rahma
A member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in Niger State, Mr Tolulope Agabaje, has won a brand new Hyundai Accent car during a promo organised by Access Bank.
The financial institution, which recently introduced a transaction campaign titled Transact and Win as part of its efforts to enhance financial inclusion through its digital platform, presented the winner with the grand prize after conducting a draw in Lagos.
At the official presentation of the car in Lagos, the Executive Director of the bank, Mr Victor Etuokwu, said the lender was targeting the unbanked and the underbanked to increase the rate of transactions through its mobile and digital platforms.
He noted that the promo was designed to play a significant role in the lives of bank customers.
“We want to continue to play a big role in the lives of our customers and as for Tolulope, we have asked him what he graduated with, he said he is a first class holder and with this, we are looking at a possibility of him working with Access Bank,” Mr Etuokwu said.
In his remarks, the car winner said he was shocked when informed of his win and felt the calls from the bank were from fraudsters but when it became incessant, he reached out to the bank via its twitter handle and was told he had actually won a car.
“I am still in shock as I was not expecting it. I cannot even remember the amount of transactions I did but I know it was too much.
“The car was not something I was looking at owning in a year or even three years but Access Bank has fast-tracked my dream of owning a car and so I would keep spreading the word to friends and family that this is indeed real,” Mr Agabaje said.
He encouraged customers and friends to open accounts with Access Bank.
Also speaking, the Lead Manager, Mobile and Internet Banking at Access Bank, Mr Osakwe Edwards, stated that the campaign will boost the bank’s digital products.
“Digital is the future and this mobile banking is what we want to get a lot of people into and you know that as a bank, we make revenue from our digital channels and we use it to boost our customer acquisition.
“These days, people do not need to get to the bank to open an account with us or perform transactio0ns, they can do that through our mobile banking platforms or USSD,” Mr Edwards said.
Commenting on the winner, he said, “Tolulope performed 10 transactions which is the criteria to win the car via the USSD or the mobile app.
“We did a draw and out of the million people that met the criteria, Tolulope emerged tops.
“For now, this is the third car that has been given. One person won in Abuja, the other won in January and so we are hoping to commence another prize presentation by the second quarter (Q2) of 2021.
“When we start by Q2, it will be on quarterly campaigns/draws and by the end of Q2, We will have another winner by the end of Q3 and Q4.”
London Stock Exchange Lists Ecobank Nigeria’s $300m Bond
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The five-year fixed rate senior unsecured $300 million bond issued by Ecobank Nigeria Limited has begun trading on the floor of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
This followed the listing of the corporate debt instrument on the respected trading platform on Thursday via a virtual ceremony witnessed by officials of the exchange and the financial institution.
The paper has an issuer rating of B- from Fitch Rating agency and S&P, while Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers and book runners.
Business Post reports that the note carries a coupon rate of 7.125 per cent, significantly below its Initial Price Thoughts of 7.75 per cent.
The successful launch was three times oversubscribed and is the lowest coupon/yield by a Nigerian financial institution for a benchmark bond transaction since 2013.
“The strong demand for our bond shows the international appetite for the Ecobank franchise in Nigeria, its unique positioning for facilitating pan-Africa trade and the attractive opportunity for the many investors seeking to back world-class Nigerian corporates,” the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, said.
It was gathered that proceeds will provide medium-term funding and help to enhance the capacity of the bank to support international trade and service across Africa.
Ecobank Nigeria, a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group, provides the full suite of banking products, services and solutions through multiple channels to retail, commercial, corporate and public sector customers.
Keystone Bank Boosts Lagos Environmental Sanitation
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State government’s environmental sanitation efforts recently received a huge boost when the new intakes of Keystone Bank Limited donated some kits to the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
The new employees, who recently graduated from the bank’s training school, The Keystone Bank Learning Academy Lagos, gave the agency 60 units of street sweepers’ uniforms.
This is aimed to boost the morale of the personnel, who work hard to keep the city very clean and it was part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) drive.
“Keystone Bank is committed to sustainability and therefore has made it a point of duty for our trainees (newly hired fresh graduates) to buy into this concept from the elementary stage of their banking career.
“Each set of banking school trainees are made to carry out a specific CSR project, which they must fund to enable them to learn the act of giving back to the society,” the Head of Learning Academy at Keystone Bank, Mr Bimbo Alabi, was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the financial institution.
He added that Keystone Bank was keenly aware that the burden of keeping the environment clean cannot be left to the state government alone, hence the intervention by the bank.
“At Keystone Bank, we are always willing to partner with organisations that are committed to keeping the environment clean, especially in the communities where we operate.
“We cannot live a healthy life, conduct business, and create wealth amidst a sick environment,” Mr Alabi noted.
While receiving the uniforms from the Keystone Bank trainees, the Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, commended the lender for being alive to its CSR in partnering with the state government to keep the environment clean.
Mr Odumboni further called on other corporate bodies to emulate the gesture of Keystone Bank for the benefit of the larger society.
The Keystone Bank Learning Academy is a full-fledged certified and accredited learning and development centre, responsible for the continuous building of skills and the expansion of the knowledge base of new and existing workers of the bank.
SEC DG Pushes for Sustainability, Safety, Soundness of Banking Sector
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The need to ensure the sustainability, safety and soundness of the banking and finance industry has been emphasised by the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda.
To achieve this, the capital market expert has advised senior bankers in the nation’s banking sector to mentor the younger generation.
According to him, their commitment to mentoring the younger generation would go a long way in actualising the objectives of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)’s mentoring scheme.
Mr Yuguda, who was a guest at the CIBN mentoring scheme tagged Mentoring: Unlocking Career Potentials and Possibilities in Lagos over the weekend, noted that, “Let me use this opportunity to encourage senior bankers to collaborate with CIBN in actualising the objectives of the mentoring scheme. Your commitment to mentoring the younger generation will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability safety and soundness of the banking industry.
“To the young bankers, I enjoin you to make the best use of this rare opportunity! I am confident that with the cooperation of all stakeholders, the CIBN mentoring scheme will be a point of reference for others,” he further said.
The SEC boss stated that to be a successful professional, one must be ambitious, willing to go the extra mile, try to be a value enhancer and must be outstanding.
He said that such a person must be teachable and willing to learn from other persons who are deemed successful in the same career path.
According to him, it is critical for young bankers to be mentored by seasoned senior colleagues as they progress in their careers because the banking profession is predicated on trust and professionalism.
Mr Yuguda said these values could be taught but are actually reinforced when demonstrated by senior bankers and emulated by their younger colleagues.
“Due to the peculiarities of the banking industry, it is easy for young bankers to get distracted with the prestige and sometimes material benefits that come with the profession.
“However, mentorship relationships help to keep such young professionals grounded and focused on building character, advancing their knowledge, growing their professional network and cultivating the right values.
“This is important because what makes success sustainable for a professional is a combination of skill, experience and the right values,” the SEC director-general said.
Earlier, the CIBN President, Mr Bayo Olugbemi, said that the institute had identified mentoring as a potent tool for bridging the gap between learning and doing.
“Esteemed audience, the changing times requires that we do things differently; the changing times require that we do things differently.
“At the CIBN, we believe so much that to maintain safety, soundness and stability of the banking industry, the human capital has a pivotal role to play in this wise.
“We have identified mentoring as a potent tool for bridging the gap between learning and doing.
“In order to uphold ethics and professionalism which is the hallmark of our banking industry and our great institute, accomplished and experienced bankers need to mentor the young and upcoming ones in order to sustain the ideals of our industry,” he said.
Ecobank, Small World Sign Remittances Deal
By Ahmed Rahma
The desire to expand its remittances reach within Africa, Europe and other parts of the world has made a leading international money transfer provider, Small World Financial Services (Small World). to sign a deal with Ecobank Group
Small World believes that its partnership with the leading lender in Africa will accelerate the growth of its global customer base as well as its 250,000 pick-up locations.
However, both parties will benefit from the partnership and will further boost financial inclusion in Africa.
It was gathered that Small World customers can now have access to the unparalleled Ecobank Africa-wide network in three ways which include direct transfer to bank accounts; mobile wallet; and cash pick up at any Ecobank location.
Ecobank will make available the Ecobank Xpress Account for the recipients of remittances sent by Small World.
“We are delighted to be forging a partnership with Ecobank.
“It is a leading bank in Africa with over 50,000locations in the region which means our global customers get access to even more ways to send money home to African countries.
“Importantly, Ecobank shares our commitment in delivering great customer service alongside providing fast, affordable and reliable transfers,” the founder of Small World, Nick Day, said.
Also commenting, the Ecobank Group Consumer Banking Head, Nana Araba Abban, stated that, “We’re proud to offer seamless payments across our vast borderless network in Africa.
“At Ecobank, we value partnerships, such as this, that enable Africans in the diaspora to remit money affordably and conveniently.
“This provides a win-win partnership as Ecobank can offer banking services to Africans wherever they are on the globe.
”Ecobank shares Small World’s commitment of making financial services seamless, convenient, and interoperable across Africa.”
WorldRemit Lauds CBN’s USD Bank Account Opening Policy
By Ahmed Rahma
A leading cross-border digital payments service, WorldRemit, has strictly adhered to the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all banks should facilitate money transfers by automatically opening US dollar accounts.
The apex bank also stated that a $2,000 withdrawal limit will apply to these accounts, explaining that it was to ensure that transactions do not fail due to a recipient not having a US dollar bank account.
According to the central bank, this development will also promote transparency by guaranteeing that all recipients receive an exchange rate that reflects the market rate.
Reacting to this policy, the Country Manager of Nigeria and Ghana at WorldRemit, Mr Gbenga Okejimi, said they were very pleased by the CBN’s decision to mandate Nigerian banks to help citizens who do not have a USD account by automatically providing this facility on their behalf.
“This development will make all the difference to those who receive support from family and friends abroad.
“For our part, we are excited by the fact that we can continue to enable the transfer of remittances to more people across Nigeria whilst also supporting the Nigerian government in its efforts to strengthen the economy,” Okejimi said.
“When our founder came up with the idea to create WorldRemit, it was with the ultimate goal of ensuring that the diaspora community could send money back home easily and through a safe platform.
“I am proud to say that we are constantly evolving, innovating and adapting to ensure that our customers’ needs are met efficiently,” he said.
WorldRemit recently announced the expansion of its US Dollar payout option with nine of its existing bank partners. This development makes it an International Money Transfer Organizations (IMTO) with one of the broadest and largest USD payout networks in Nigeria.
Customers of FCMB, First Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, GT Bank and UBA can now also access USD payout through the bank transfer and cash pickup options.
Those receiving transfers into Union Bank, Polaris Bank and Zenith Bank accounts can access USD payout only through the cash pickup option.
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