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Sterling Bank May Change Operational Structure to Boost Performance

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Sterling Bank May Change Operational Structure to Boost Performance

By Dipo Olowookere

Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Asue Ighodalo, has hinted that the financial institution may change its operational structure into a holding entity.

Mr Ighodalo gave this indication at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the lender held in Lagos on Thursday.

He said this is one of the plans being considered by the management to reposition the company as a top class organisation in the country.

According to him, the new structure will allow its different subsidiaries operate under a parent company.

At the moment, only three banks operate under holding company structure and they are including First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, while Ecobank Transnational Incorporated-a pan-African holding company is the parent company for Ecobank brand.

Speaking at the AGM, Mr Ighodalo said the bank remains committed to delivering solutions that satisfy stakeholders’ needs and objectives while also providing adequate financial returns to shareholders.

He pointed out that retaining a substantial amount of profit generated to strengthen available capital will be in the long-term best interest of shareholders.

“As a business, we will continue to innovate with focus on key growth sectors of the Nigerian economy that will enrich lives and grow the bottom-line.

“We will also continue to leverage on our areas of strength to drive sustainable growth and deliver superior returns to our esteemed shareholders,” he said.

On his part, Managing Director of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, said the bank’s 2017 financial year performance highlighted its underlying institutional strength despite delicate operating conditions.

He said, “We will continue to execute the plans to drive efficiency across the business under the three pillars of agility, digitization and specialization in the new financial year.

“These pillars will propel us toward sustainable growth by enhancing our ability to innovate; solidify our retail funding base; strengthen our enterprise-wide risk management framework and drive excellent service delivery across all channels to enhance customer experience.”

Business Post reports that under the banking regulatory regime introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2010, banks were required to concentrate fully on core banking functions.

The model required banks to either sell all non-core banking businesses or form a holding company to hold such non-core banking businesses including activities such as insurance, asset management and capital market operations. Most banks opted to sell or divest from non-core commercial banking businesses.

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

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Banking

First Bank Reaffirms Support for Business Owners in 2022

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First Bank Sympathy Letter

By Adedapo Adesanya

First Bank has reiterated its commitment to supporting the growth of businesses in Nigeria as a stepping stone to invigorate the country’s economy and development.

This promise was made by the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank, Mr Adesola Adeduntan at the Nigerian Economic Outlook 2022 webinar organised by the tier-1 lender on Thursday in Lagos.

During his opening remark at the virtual event, he said, “As a bank, we have a legacy of supporting business owners as they are also the engine for economic growth and development in Nigeria and across Sub-Sahara Africa.”

“In line with our renewed vision to be Africa’s bank of the first choice, First Bank will take the lead in driving the development of the different sectors and industries within the economies where we operate to support overall economic growth and sustainability.

“As a bank that is woven into the fabric of society, this webinar is further reinforcing our support and collaboration with stakeholders as we demonstrate our commitment and willingness to be the partner of the first choice to our customers,” he said further.

He said the webinar was one of such avenues to provide the opportunity to assess the performance of the Nigerian economy across key indices in 2021 and benefit from expert opinions on the expectations and forecast for 2022.

Mr Adeduntan said it would also provide excellent insights on the key factors that would shape both the global and local economic landscape in 2022.

He noted that in 2021, global outputs rebounded and recovery was strong following improved vaccination efforts, as well as support from the monetary and fiscal authorities.

According to him, the fourth wave of COVID-19 omicron variant created some level of caution, impacting the activities of the fourth quarter of 2021 and leading to the push for booster jabs and reinstatement of COVID protocols.

He, however, noted that specific key lessons can be gleaned from the economic and related activities that the business environment witnessed in 2021.

The banker noted that these lessons and other expected occurrences in 2022 were vital ingredients to the planning processes of the bank’s esteemed customers and stakeholders.

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Banking

CBN Promises Adoption of PAPSS by Nigerian Banks

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adoption of PAPSS

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured other African countries that it would drive the adoption and implementation of the continent’s new payment system, the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made this promise on Thursday at the launch of PAPSS, a platform designed to ease cross-border transactions and reduce third currencies for intra-African trade.

Before now, trades in Africa, especially cross-border transactions, required the use of third currencies like the United States Dollars, the British Pound Sterling, Euro and the Chinese Yuan.

With the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) last year, the need for a payment system to simplify cross-border transactions became necessary and the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and AfCFTA came up with PAPSS.

While speaking at the launch in Accra, Mr Emefiele said Nigeria is excited by the opportunities in the adoption of PAPSS, noting that this was why the country became actively involved in the programme.

The banker said the “CBN will ensure the financial institutions under its jurisdiction accept PAPSS and recommend it to businesses across Nigeria.”

He stated that, “Prior to the launch of PAPSS, settlements for intra Africa trade required a third currency and a non-African correspondent bank. This resulted in an estimated loss of close to $5 billion annually and undermined trade in Africa countries.

“The launch of PAPPS gives the fresh opportunity and aspiration for the African continent. It will simplify cross-border transactions, reduce third currencies for intra-African transactions and remove the need for correspondent Banks and ultimately amplify intra trade significantly,” he said.

“As a percentage of total trade, intra-African trade is expected to increase to 35 per cent from 15 per cent in five years with infrastructure provided by PAPSS as payments and settlements are resolved

 “With the growing pace of digitisation in financial services, which has been accelerated from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PAPPS can serve as a viable platform for supporting e-commerce in Africa,” he added.

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Banking

150,000 Firstmonie Agents Process N17trn Transactions—First Bank

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Firstmonie Agents1

By Dipo Olowookere

Between 2018 and December 2021, the agent banking of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Firstmonie, recorded transactions worth over N17 trillion, Business Post reports.

The bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Adesola Adeduntan, who disclosed this in an interview with ThisDay, said the financial services were carried out in 817 million transactions by over 150,000 Firstmonie agents spread in 772 of the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.

According to the veterinary doctor turned banker, this has arguably made First Bank the largest bank-led network in Nigeria, and indeed Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Firstmonie initiative has been a very formidable vehicle for job creation and economic development in several communities across the country, as over 150,000 direct jobs and 450,000 indirect jobs have been created, with an agent earning an average monthly commission/income of N85,000.

“Over 1.5 million individuals have been economically impacted through the jobs created via the First Bank’s Firstmonie agent banking proposition.

“Significant percentage of Firstmonie’s agents are in the rural areas, contributing significantly to the development of the rural economy in Nigeria,” he stated.

Speaking further, Mr Adeduntan said, “First Bank is supporting the social-economic development of Nigeria in a profitable way. During the peak of the lockdown, the Firstmonie network provided an alternative channel for the bank’s customers to conduct transactions and meet their basic financial service needs, serving as quasi-physical touchpoints for the bank’s customers.

“This resulted in the Firstmonie network processing over N6.6 trillion worth of transactions during the period.

“We are not resting on our oars and the growth in 2021 is equally impressive; as at Q3 2021, we had processed more value of transactions than we did in the whole of 2020.

“The outlook for 2022 and beyond is also quite exciting. We will continue to focus on impacting the lives of the communities we serve and deepening the services we offer through collaborations with partners, the regulatory authorities, other industry players, and our customers.”

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