By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Heritage Bank Plc has promised to continue to put sustainability at the heart of its decision-making as a part of its sustainability drive in the corporate social responsibility space in order to achieve a healthy planet, which it said is “the backbone of nearly every industry on earth.”
The financial institution made this pledge at an event organised by the Lagos State government to commemorate the 2022 World Environment Day Celebrations.
The bank, for its contribution and support towards Environmental Sustainability, especially, in Lagos, was given the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Award.
Speaking at the event specifically put together by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, commended the state government for the efforts exuded during environmental sustainability to protect ecosystems in supporting health and wellbeing of all creatures.
Mr Sekibo, who was represented by the Chief Risk Officer, Heritage Bank, Mr Kehinde Olugbemi, said: “as this year’s World Environmental Day Celebration theme implies, we have ‘Only One Earth,’ and truly, only one earth to protect.
“The fact is that human well-being is closely linked to the health of the environment. And our planet is reaching a breaking point. We are beginning to see the consequences of global warming on ecosystems and communities.”
Today, he said, industrialisation, though positive for human well-being on the flip side, has raked lots of havoc on human existence.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), he said, 24% of deaths can be traced back to avoidable environmental factors, adding that, Heritage Bank Plc has continued to prioritise and make huge commitments to environmentally sustainable practices to help build thriving communities and secure future growth potential.
“We realized that our people and other dwellers need clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, and places to live that are free of toxic substances and hazards.
“So, as a part of our sustainability drive in the Corporate social responsibility space, we have continued to put sustainability at the heart of our decision-making for the sake of humanity and the bank’s own bottom line because a healthy planet is the backbone of nearly every industry on Earth,” he pointed out.
Earlier at the event, Lagos state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated that there is an urgent need for everyone to focus on the need to live sustainably with nature for the benefit of mankind, adding that, this has become necessary to shift to a greener lifestyle through both policies and individual choices.
He added that sustainability of the environment is among the most pressing issues in the world today out of which the Earth faces triple planetary emergencies namely, Climate change, loss of biodiversity and Environmental Pollution.
The governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr Omolaji Gaji, added that the impact of the challenges has negatively made the achievements of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) less successful.
“With nature in emergency mode, the #OnlyOneEarth campaign for World Environment Day 2022, wants us to celebrate the planet through collective environmental action”, he said.
The governor commended corporate organisations, such as Heritage Bank for ensuring that the persistent drive of the State’s policy towards entrusting the legacy of greening and restoration of indigenous trees to the citizen is sustained.
Similarly, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello said, the government through the ministry of the Environment & Water Resources has implemented several programmes to mitigate these challenges through Tree planting, a climate change summit, Environmental bees’ clubs in schools, waste to wealth and ban on open defecation.
Speaking through the Director of Sanitation Services Department, Dr Hassan Sanuth, the PS added that, the government keyed into this call in 2021 by commencing the greening of Abraham Adesanya setback, together with restoration of some historical plants in specific locations like Agege, Idi-Mangoro where Mango trees were planted, Idi-Agbon in Ifako-Ijaiye where coconut trees were planted and in Lagos Island where breadfruit trees were planted at St. Paul Anglican Primary School, Breadfruit Lagos as part of this year’s celebration.
The guest lecturer, Dr Ayo Tella while delivering his paper, noted that anthropogenic effects caused by human activities such as the felling of trees have altered the earth’s natural systems and the survival of many species.
Heritage Bank had earlier donated plastic bins to Navy Town Secondary School, Ojo, Lagos, to mark World Earth Day even as it has embarked on a project to address the water crisis, whilst contributing towards making clean and potable water accessible to all.
Similarly, a global open-source movement known as Liter of Light Nigeria partnered with Heritage Bank Plc to provide sustainable solar electricity for the Itomaro community in Lagos State while the bank, in 2020, had been on the move to distribute over 10, 000 mosquito nets to rural dwellers.
Airtel’s Smartcash Payment Service Bank Begins Operations in Nigeria
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The payment service bank of Airtel Africa Plc, Smartcash, has commenced operations in Nigeria with the launch of the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary at an event held in Lagos on Thursday.
The leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, which trades its shares on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, launched the PSB arm at the Eko Hotels and Suites with several personalities in attendance.
Some of the bigwigs at the event were the Group CEO of Airtel Africa, Mr Segun Ogunsanya; the Chairman of Smartcash PSB Ltd, Mr Kingsley Umadia; the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Rabiu Olowo; Chief Human Resources Officer of Airtel Africa, Ms Rogany Ramiah; the Special Advisor to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais; the Managing Director/CEO of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Surendran Chemmenkotil and the CEO of Smartcash PSB, Mr Muyiwa Ebitanmi, amongst others.
During the occasion, Airtel said the SmartCash PSB will provide secure and reliable financial services to customers across Nigeria after obtaining a license from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The firm, which has its headquartered in Lagos, will accept deposits from individuals and small businesses, carry out payment and remittance services within Nigeria, and issue debit and prepaid cards among other banking services.
SmartCash also enables person-to-person payment and transfers from across the world. The service is currently available at selected retail touchpoints, though it hopes to reach the 36.8 per cent unbanked adult population in Nigeria, as estimated by the Access to Financial Services in Nigeria report.
Plans are underway to expand the innovative, technology-driven services to all parts of the country, including the furthest and most remote, in an effort to accelerate financial inclusion for all Nigerians.
“The launch of SmartCash Payment Service Bank gives us fresh impetus at Airtel Africa to continue growing our footprint in the continent and delivering innovative solutions.
“In the bank, we have the best of both worlds – a hybrid of commercial bank and mobile financial services – offering last mile connection to the financially excluded. Through it, we want to contribute towards driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, to empower Nigerians while transforming the payment landscape in Nigeria and the rest of Africa,” Mr Adesanya stated.
On his part, Mr Ebitanmi said: “Through SmartCash Payment Services Bank, we aim to bridge the financial divide by providing rural and urban Nigerians access to innovative, highly secured and reliable banking services that are powered by technology and are relevant to their needs.”
New, Existing Customers of Stanbic IBTC to Enjoy Non-Collateralised Digital Loans
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
New and existing customers of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc have been assured of non-collateralised digital loans at any time of the day for their personal and business use
The chief executive of the lender, Mr Wole Adeniyi, explained that customers can access the affordable funding from N20,000 to N20 million from any location 24/7 without having to visit the branch and without paperwork as they are all digitised end-to-end.
He stated that the Stanbic IBTC Digital Loans come in various packages like Stanbic IBTC Unsecured Personal Loan, Top-Ups, Smart Loan, EZ Cash, and Device Financing.
It was explained that through the Stanbic IBTC Smart Loan solution, customers of the bank who also have mutual fund investments with Stanbic IBTC Asset Management can access up to N20 million instant loan to finance personal and business projects while their investments continue to earn them returns.
With the upgraded Stanbic IBTC Unsecured Personal Loan, salary earners can apply for a top-up of existing loans through their mobile devices from the comfort of their homes.
Similarly, with Stanbic IBTC EZ Cash, customers can access loans of up to N7.5 million via the bank’s USSD code *909*44#, the My Bank Module of the Stanbic IBTC Mobile App and the bank’s online banking portal. Customers can access loans quickly and conveniently with up to 48 months of repayment, depending on the loan type.
“The Stanbic IBTC Digital Loans, which are available via our Super App, our website, our *909# USSD service and Internet Banking, help alleviate some of the challenges individuals experience in meeting urgent financial needs.
“The loans are available to both new and existing customers of Stanbic IBTC and are geared towards helping customers meet their financial obligations at any time, no matter the urgency,” he stated.
“Customers, through the Stanbic IBTC Device Financing solution, can acquire new mobile devices from MTN partner stores and enjoy additional benefits such as 4GB data, 100 minutes talk time monthly and insurance against loss and screen damage,” Mr Adeniyi added.
He assured that the company would continue to design financial solutions that will meet the needs and enhance the financial growth of its esteemed customers.
“With economic empowerment as a core pillar of our corporate social investment initiatives, we remain committed to ensuring not only the growth of our customers but also their business activities,” Mr Adeniyi concluded.
It was gathered that the funding packages were designed by Stanbic IBTC as part of efforts to assist Nigerians with financing and also to address the challenges facing individuals in accessing finance.
Ecobank Named Best Trade Finance Bank in West Africa
By Adedapo Adesanya
Ecobank has been named the Best Trade Finance Bank in West Africa at the prestigious Global Trade Review’s Leaders in Trade awards held in London last month.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the lender announced that the award comes as recognition of its solutions for domestic and regional supply chain financing across key trade corridors as well as the bank’s arranger roles and participation in key soft commodities campaign financing across West Africa, notably covering cotton, cacao, soya beans and cashew nuts.
Ecobank’s offerings are supplemented by its state-of-the-art E-trade module under the Omni Plus platform and its products are positioned to support both Corporate and Investment Banking and SME customers in leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade Area’s opportunities and growing intra-African trade.
The judges also recognized Ecobank’s Trade Services solutions, which led the bank to command significant market share on Letters of Credit across the continent, leveraging on its Paris-based affiliate, Ecobank International, for confirmations, payments, and discounts.
Commenting on the recognition, Mr Souleymane Diagne, Group Head, Trade Finance, Ecobank, said: “As a Pan-African bank with the largest footprint across the continent, a major ambition of Ecobank is to be the preferred trade bank for SMEs and corporates across Africa. We are committed to enabling them to take advantage of the immense growth opportunities fostered by the game-changing African Continental Free Trade Area.
“This accolade from Global Trade Review provides welcome recognition of the impact we are making through our suite of trade products and solutions, which include Structured Trade and Commodity Finance, Trade Services and Supply Chain Finance.
“For our customers and partners in West Africa and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, we are resolved to continue delivering value through our trade and multi-currency payments solutions, leveraging on our African expertise and our network’s advantage.”
Ecobank works closely with clients and leverages partners within and outside Africa in reviewing key aspects of transaction dynamics, including settlement, financing, risk mitigation, credit enhancement, syndications and applicable regulations.
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