By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Heritage Bank has again shown that it is one financial institution in Nigeria many will aspire to be like and this was demonstrated at two notable awards ceremonies, where the lender went home with five different awards.
The bank, which prides itself as Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, was the cynosure of all eyes at the 2021 Human Resource (HR) People Magazine Awards and at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria’s (FICAN) 30th-Anniversary Conference and Awards.
The firm was given the HR Champion Award (for MD/CEO, COO), Most Outstanding Engagement Strategy for over 1000 Employees and the HR Leader Award (for Heads of HR).
It was also awarded at FICAN with Platinum Awards presented to the MD/CEO, Mr Ifie Sekibo and Heritage Bank for Outstanding Support towards FICAN and Financial Reporting.
The bank further won the prestigious awards in recognition of the leadership of Heritage Bank in Human Capital Development (HCM) for putting employees first and ensuring that its people management and engagement strategies are second to none and in celebration of its MD/CEO’s leadership style. The bank was also recognised for Outstanding Support towards Financial Reporting in Nigeria.
This was Heritage Bank’s first time participating in such an event as HR practitioners, as the financial institution had the opportunity to enter three award categories.
Over 20 established brands from different industry sectors were also said to have participated in the several keenly contested award categories, which cut across various areas of people management and development. Despite the formidable competition and the very rigorous screening process, Heritage Bank emerged as the winner in the series of awards won.
Commenting on the awards, the Divisional Head, Human Capital Management, Ms Abike Wesey, expressed gratitude to the organisers for believing in Heritage Bank and the leadership of the bank for their support to employees’ welfare.
“We are ecstatic to have received this honour and are extremely grateful for the leadership of Executive Management, for giving us wings to fly right in our corner and always willing to listen.
“It was indeed a remarkable moment for us, as we strutted up the dais, with heads held up high and proud, amidst the cheer and accolades from the HR community, well represented at the event; especially in an event of such calibre, being recognized in a gathering of doyens & captains of Industries for our exceptional accomplishments in a widely acclaimed, challenging year – it was definitely no small feat,” Ms Wesey said.
According to her, “The award and commendations go a long way to show that our people management & engagement strategies are truly working, and we are committed to doing more in our world to keep the Heritage flag flying. We identify with our Heritage, because, winning is our heritage.”
The HR Awards is very unique because of its process and organisation. The organisers are usually not aware of the winners till the day of the event, the same time the results are revealed per category and award submissions are made on a peculiar website – comparable to none in West Africa.
The judges are respected & prominent former heads of HR, selected from five different countries and from various industries, with cutting-edge experience who judge the contestants on global best practices.
Oyo Catholic Diocese Gets Licence to Operate Microfinance Bank
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Catholic Diocese of Oyo State has obtained a licence in principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate Ave Maria Microfinance Bank and provide financial services to about 1.5 million residents in the Iwajowa Local Government and the entire Oke Ogun area of the state.
The diocesan coordinator of the Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM), Rev Fr. Gabriel Adeleke, said the financial institution will allow individuals and businesses to have access to affordable financial products and services that meet their needs in a responsible and sustainable way.
The non-existence of commercial banks in the Iwajowa Local Government had denied the people the right to pursue their dreams to the full because they were excluded from the formal financial sector. This lack of access to financial tools impacts the socioeconomic mobility of the population.
The Oyo Catholic Diocese explained that it came up with an idea to float a microfinance bank that can give people in the Oke Ogun area access to basic financial services such as formal bank accounts, insurance, transaction services, loans, and other permissible services.
Fr. Adeleke expressed delight with the reception of the Approval in Principle license from the central bank.
He disclosed that the proposed bank will bring a series of impactful interventions in the lives of the people in Iwajowa Local Government area and of the Oyo Diocese at large irrespective of religion, race, or gender.
According to him, the services the people will enjoy from the proposed bank include deposits including savings, time, target and demand from individuals, groups, and associations; except public sector deposits; provision of credit to its customers, including formal and informal self-help groups, individuals, and associations; as well as the promotion and monitoring of loan usage among its customers by providing ancillary capacity building in areas such as record keeping and small business management.
Others are the issuance of redeemable debentures to interested parties to raise funds from members of the public with the prior approval of the CBN; collection of money or proceeds of banking instruments on behalf of its customers including clearing of cheques through correspondent banks; agency services for the provision of mobile banking and micro-insurance services to its clients; and provision of payment services such as salary, gratuity, pension for employees of the various tiers of government.
It will also provide loan disbursement services for the delivery of the credit programme of government, agencies, groups, and individuals for poverty alleviation on a non-recourse basis.
Afreximbank, APPO to Establish African Energy Bank
By Adedapo Adesanya
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a multi-billion dollar African energy bank has been signed between the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO).
The institution will scale up private sector investment in African oil and gas projects and will not be a substitute for private investment but serve as a catalyst for Africa-directed investment.
As per terms of the MoU, the bank will provide critical financing for new and existing oil and gas projects, as well as energy developments across the entire value chain.
This will help strengthen the continent’s energy sector which has been further weakened by international oil company divestment and the shift in global investment trends.
The MoU was signed by Mr Rene Awambeng, Director & Global Head, Client Relations, Afreximbank, and Mr Omar Farouk, Secretary General of APPO, in the presence of Mr João Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola, APPO Ministers and Mr NJ Ayuk, African Energy Chamber (AEC) Executive Chairman.
The proposed African Energy Bank will operate in the same way as the APPO-created Africa Energy Investment Corporation – a developmental financial institution created to channel resources towards the development of Africa’s energy sector.
“The African Energy Chamber has been pushing for the creation of an African Energy Bank, one that is African-based and Africa-focused, and I am proud to announce that the Afreximbank and APPO have taken the first steps towards its creation.
“The bank will be critical for Africa’s energy sector, serving as a catalyst – not a substitute – for private investment in African energy. This is a practical strategy for prosperity and a pragmatic vision that must be embraced by all who want to make energy poverty history and fight climate change.
“Why should our pension funds go to European banks who say they will not finance Africans and call us risky? We need to use that money to finance oil and gas,” Mr Ayuk said.
Based in Africa, the bank will operate as an independent entity, regulated and led by experienced professionals that know and understand Africa’s energy needs.
NowNow Unveils New Features to Boost Contactless Payments
By Adedapo Adesanya
A leading African fintech startup, NowNow Digital Systems Limited, has launched a first of its kind fully integrated near field communication (NFC) enabled wallet which allows complete contactless payments on the platform.
This new function provides fast, easy, and safe cashless payments for NowNow customers using android smartphones, automated teller machine (ATM) cards, and point of sale (POS) devices.
The most innovative feature of this technology turns smartphones into digital point of sale terminals for micro to small-sized businesses including individuals, agents, and merchants.
With the NFC integration on NowNow wallets, the company’s new Tap & Pay and SoftPOS features enable the acceptance and performance of seamless contactless transactions without the need for any additional hardware.
The Tap & Pay feature allows wallet to wallet transactions on NowNow, while the SoftPOS feature allows ATM card to wallet and wallet to POS transactions.
Speaking on the new NFC wallet integration, Mr Mahesh Nair, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, NowNow Digital Services, expressed excitement at the feat and affirmed that the new feature highlights NowNow’s commitment to enabling seamless financial services in Nigeria.
“We are excited to be the first fintech wallet in Nigeria to launch a fully integrated NFC wallet for our users that enables them to perform contactless payments. The Tap & Pay and SoftPOS solutions represent our dedication to providing seamless digital payments in Nigeria.
“As a leading fintech, it is important for us to provide services that promote financial inclusion. Today, our customers, agents, and merchants can make smooth contactless payments on our platform. Using the feature is easy with no hardware or maintenance required coupled with a simple onboarding process,” he said.
The new NowNow NFC enabled Tap & Pay and SoftPOS solutions provide customer-to-customer (C2C) and customer-to-business (C2B) services, including agent-to-customer offerings.
These options enable NowNow merchants and individuals to use payment solutions that are secure and easy to set up.
NowNow’s mission is to deliver best-in-class financial services having built an ecosystem for seamless digitized payments for customers.
The NFC integration on NowNow wallets will further enhance NowNow’s existing services for consumer banking, agency banking, and merchant payment, driving financial empowerment and inclusion for micro to small businesses and individuals alike.
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