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Adesola Adeduntan: Banker with midas touch gets global recognition

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FirstBank CEO

The bank has continually reached the underbanked and un-banked population to reduce poverty, bolster economic growth and development of Nigeria.

These milestones have earned Adeduntan the 2019 Cranfield University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.

The Award is the School’s highest honour and recognises his significant success within the banking industry and sector while upholding the highest standards in business practice.

The 21st century has been remarkable in many aspects. It witnessed the rise of a global economy and increase in power of private enterprise that gives individuals power to run businesses successfully.

It is a century where visionary men dared, achieved and moved longstanding businesses to enviable heights. These private sector leaders succeeded where others feared to try.

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Subsidiaries is one of such leaders.

Adeduntan who took the role to run one of Nigeria’s biggest Tier-1 bank since January 1, 2016 has kept in on a path of sustainable growth and contributions to the nation’s domestic economy.

Prior to his appointment, he was an Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for the Bank since 2014 when he was appointed to the Board of the Bank. Before joining FirstBank in 2014, Adeduntan was a Director and the pioneer Chief Financial Officer/Business Manager of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

He has served as a Senior Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer at Citibank Nigeria Limited, a Senior Manager in the Financial Services Group of KPMG Professional Services and a Manager at Arthur Andersen Nigeria, among other exciting career paths.

The bank chief with several years of banking experience has contributed immensely to sustaining FirstBank’s position as a leading Tier-1 bank in the Nigerian financial services space.

Adeduntan is the recipient of the 2019 Cranfield University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, United Kingdom. The Award is the School’s highest honour and recognises those individuals who have achieved significant success within their industry and sector while upholding the highest standards in business practise.

The astute banker has carved a niche for himself by positioning the FirstBank brand as a clear leader in promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria given the significant strides the bank has made in reaching the underbanked and un-banked population designed to reduce poverty and importantly bolster economic growth and development of Nigeria.

As a global thought leader, Adeduntan is well-sought after and has shared his experience and expertise at notable events across the world espousing and even envisioning financial inclusion in the next 125 years.

These events include the 2019 Ethical Finance Conference in the UK which had in attendance over 500 leading finance practitioners from all over the world including with Sarah Breeden, Bank of England; Dame Susan Rice, Banking Standards Board; Gary Gillespie, Chief Economist, Scottish Government; a keynote speaker at 2019 University of Edinburgh Sustainable Business in Africa Forum; The Africa CEO Forum 2018, Abidjan; the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Annual State of Nigeria Conference as well as 2019 LSE Africa Summit.

Adeduntan has won other laurels due to his sustained professional achievements; significant economic and social impact; leadership qualities as well as a role model. These include the 2018 African Banker of the Year in African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Award in South Africa.

Analysts believe that the award of the 2019 Cranfield University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, United Kingdom to Adeduntan was in recognition of key milestones the bank has achieved under his leadership.

Also Read:  Gtbank Launches GTWorld

Agent Banking Milestones
First Bank has under Adeduntan expressed its commitment to continue to drive financial inclusion through its over 37,000 Firstmonie Agent Network present in 99 per cent of the 774 local government areas and has processed over N2 trillion through the initiative.

FirstBank’s Firstmonie service provides financial/banking solutions to rural and semi-urban locations across the country.

Such solutions include account opening, cash deposit, cash withdrawals, airtime purchase, bill payments and much more.

Through this channel, the bank is committed to providing convenient services that engender and provides ease of access to banking products, thereby saving time and travel costs for users of the network.

While speaking at the Firstmonie Agent Banking National Award ceremony, held in Lagos, Adeduntan said the firstmonie agent network is a channel through which the bank expresses its unalloyed commitment and passion to promote opportunities of financial services for every Nigerian , especially within the low-income segment.

He said: “The initiative has witnessed several changes in the operating structure and value proposition of FirstBank. In December 2017, the bank ran a pilot test with over 400,000 transactions processed and following the success of the first run, it re-launched in 2018.”

According to Adeduntan, through Firstmonie, the bank has remained at the forefront of driving nation-wide inclusion, given our belief that access to financial services is part of lifting people out of poverty and fostering collective national economic development.

Adeduntan said: “The key strengthen of the bank’s services is to look at the gaps in the society and develop products and services that address the gap. As an integral part of our strategy, we believe in working with the CBN to improve financial inclusion index of the country. We would, at FirstBank, assist Nigeria to address poverty and hunger, thereby promoting security of life and property. Because when people are gainfully employed, the implication is that they will think less of crime,” he said.

Banking with Technology
Banking and technology are becoming inseparable. FirstBank under Adeduntan is driving growth and customer services with technology. The 2019 Financial Technology (Fintech) Summit organised by the bank was an opportunity for the bank to emphasise the need for technology in e-business, digital offering, agent banking, wholesale/ transaction banking, retail/consumer lending and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) productivity.

He noted that as a Tier-1 lender, which celebrated its 125th anniversary last March, the bank had been able to maintain its leadership position in the industry by leveraging technology to offer innovative solutions through its product offerings.

According to him, the theme of the summit, “Banking + Tech = Solving Real Problems,” reflects the reality that technology can be applied to add value in all spheres of life. He pointed out that despite the remarkable progress recorded by Nigerian banks through the use technology, there is still a lot to be done in that regard.

Adeduntan said FirstBank remained committed to putting its customers first with excellent financial services and devising new ways of effectively meeting customers’ financial needs.

“Customer experience and innovation are key in our approach to satisfying our customers. As a leading banking services solutions provider, FirstBank has continued to set the pace in the financial services industry, coming up with new initiatives to provide financial products and services with greater speed, accountability and efficiency. Evidently, Financial technology is causing positive disruption in the financial services industry. The impact of technology in lifestyle business and other areas of today’s customer is huge. We are therefore following global trends in collaborating with Fintechs and other big technology companies on several transformational initiatives to be able to satisfy our customers’ needs,” Adeduntan stated.

Cash-less banking milestones/ Youth Empowerment
FirstBank is also under the current leadership, taking advantage of the opportunities created by cash-less banking to innovate and give value to customers. The bank has introduced the Visa Multi Currency Card, an All-in One-Card and first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in Nigeria. This card can be linked to four currencies: Naira, United States dollar, Euro and British Pounds Sterling accounts.

With the Visa Multi-Currency card, FirstBank customers – within and outside Nigeria – can now enjoy the luxury of having their local and foreign denominated accounts in any currency, linked to a single debit card. The Visa Multi-Currency Card is designed to ease the daily cashless transactional needs of customers regardless of where they are across the world.

The bank is also taking its financial inclusion and youth empowerment drives to institutions of higher learning, targeting the students in financial institutions in its XploreFirst Savings Account campaign.

In alignment with its financial inclusion drive, FirstBank has completed a campaign for rewarding its youth segment customers for using their FirstBank’s XploreFirst Savings accounts and encouraging healthy savings. The promo, which kicked off last October 1 ended on March 30, this year.

XploreFirst account was designed for students between 18 and 29. A minimum amount of N1,000 is required to open the account and account holders are to maintain a balance of N200.

FirstBank recognises the impact of a healthy savings culture in promoting financial inclusion among individuals, especially the youth. And with the saying, the youth are the leaders of tomorrow, we believe that with XploreFirst account, the youth are well positioned to take the lead in their financial activities through the exciting benefits the account offers.

 

Industry Position
Adeduntan said despite the regulatory headwinds and business shocks, FirstBank’s fundamentals have remained very strong with the group’s asset quality.

He said the bank has under his leadership, focused on loan and remedial management, voluntary reduction of Single Obligor Limit (SOL) and increased board oversight by significantly raising the bars of credit approvals through the Board Credit Committee to remain viable despite the daunting business environment.

Adeduntan said the lender has over the years built an enduring brand that is immediately recognisable as dynamic, dependable, lasting and innovative.

“And we have completed millions of transactions, received billions of deposits and given out trillions of loans and advances- that’s what makes us a bank.

But it’s the smiles, the laughs, the handshakes and the spontaneous hugs from the satisfied customers that keep us going and make us part of the community we serve and a member of the world we live in,” he stated in a statement to mark the bank’s 125 years of operation.

Adeduntan said: “Our heritage as the nation’s foremost and largest developmental financial institution is apparent in the Group’s contributions to economic growth and development. Our developmental philosophy is reflected in our business policy and is self-evident in the composition of our loan book as diversified in the nation’s major economic development sectors. These include agriculture, manufacturing, oil & gas, services and public sector, among others.

“As a firm believer in the brand Nigeria and a pioneer in national development, we took a patriotic bet on the country in 2015, consistent with our century-long commitment to nation building as a fundamental pillar of sustainable business development. As at the time we took the measured risks, in line with business realities, it was universally acknowledged as bold business moves as well as a private institution’s obligation to support focused national development.

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BUSINESS

Nigerian business owners lament as 7.5% VAT rate takes off

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The implementation of the newly introduced 7.5 per cent  hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) and related tax adjustments in the 2010 Finance Act has commenced, says  Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris said on Wednesday, though business owners have continued to lament the increment.

The implementation is sequel to Monday’s signing of the Finance Bill by  President Muhammadu Buhari .

The AGF told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that since the bill had become a law, its implementation by his office had to start.

Idris said he saw a  payment on Wednesday in which five per cent  VAT  was applied, but had to return it  to the person.

His words,  ”on Wednesday, I saw a payment which was done in December last year and when I checked the payment, the VAT on it was five per cent and I said no it must be 7.5 per cent because the five per cent VAT has been overtaken by events because that is the law as at today.

“So, I stopped it and asked them to go and recharge at 7.5 per cent. You cannot implement something unless you have the instrument whether administrative or legal for it to be implemented.”

The AGF also gave reasons for the delay in the full take off of the Open Government Treasury Transparency Portal across Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Idris however explained that information was  being uploaded daily on the portal even after  his office closed all government accounts last month.

Other reasons for the delay, he explained, are the training of MDAs account officers to understand how to upload information on the portal; public sensitisation and processing of data from MDAs.

The Federal Government last year December launched financial transparency policy and open treasury portal. The portal is designed to open government financial activities to public scrutiny in terms of revenue and expenditure of MDAs.

With the portal, the AGF is mandated to publish daily, treasury statements which will provide information about what came into the national purse and what went out every single day.

Giving updates on compliance with the new finance rule for MDAs operations, Ahmed said:  ”We are now training personnel that will upload information into the portal because it’s very important to train them.

“We have to suspend that to focus on closure of account as required by law in December. Our staff are back and we will concentrate on the financial portal.”

“All policies of government bordering on transparency, openness in  government finances – Treasury Single Account (TSA), IPPIS, GIFMIS and the recently unveiled  financial transparency policy and  treasury portal emanated  from here, OAGF.”

He explained that, those policies were necessary for government to secure confidence of the public.

The minister said: “You can’t be open if you are not transparent both in expenditure and revenue and  make them open and accessible to the public. The public has responsibility to be informed especially where public funds are involved.

“Fighting corruption isn’t just for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  to arrest people and take them  to court.  We have to start the preparation by preventing  corruption from  happening  by making jailing the last option.”

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BUSINESS

GAIM 4 draws: 13 new millionaires emerge in Fidelity Bank’s savings promo, begin 2020 on a happy note

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L-R: Head, Savings, Fidelity Bank Plc, Janet Nnabuko; Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Charles Aigbe; Executive Director, Shared Services & Products, Fidelity Bank Plc, Chijioke Ugochukwu; Regional Bank Head (RBH), Lagos Island, Fidelity Bank Plc, Obiajulu Okafor; Head, Lagos Office, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Sussie Onwuka; during the third monthly draw of the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) promo season 4 in Lagos on Tuesday.

Thirteen lucky customers of Fidelity Bank Plc have started the new year on a strong note having emerged millionaires in the third monthly draw of the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) promo season 4 in Lagos on Tuesday. The bank also rewarded loyal customers with cash prizes worth N16 million in the categories of N2 million and N1 million respectively.

The electronic raffle draw, which was held at the bank’s Broad Street Branch, Lagos Island was witnessed by the relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC). Lucky customers who emerged winners in the draw cut across all regions of the country.

The winners include: Dare Abiodun Emmanuel; Ugwu Philomena Nneka; Chinenye Catherine Olunna; Egberi Agbarha Kelvin; Ivang Stanley Oham; Chinelo Loveth Egbuchunem; Dare Abiodun Emmanuel; Itabiyi Gbolahan Olakunle Hassan & Adejoke Jokotade; Larei Chindo; Chigozie Darlington Emoka; Khadijah Umar; Muazzam Ad Maizare; Isabella Chekwube Uche; Omolade Bamitale Olatawura.

Others are Joseph James Abah; Oghenetega Emmanuel Erus; Blessing Chidinma Okafor; Loveline Uche Okonkwo; Nafisat Ali Lawal; Comfort Ita Asuquo; Mohammed Halima Sadiya, amongst others. The bank doled out 19 consolation prizes in form of fridges, television sets and power generating sets.

Speaking during the event, Managing Director/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo, noted it is the bank’s 9th promo in 12 years whilst adding that a total of N16 million and 19 consolation prizes will be given out at the third draw. Okonkwo who was represented the Executive Director, Shared Services and Products, Chijioke Ugochukwu, further added that the draw will see a total of N50 million in cash and 54 consolation prizes to over 93 winners.

“We would have given out a total of N50 million in cash and 54 consolation prizes to over 93 winners. We expect more winners to emerge at subsequent draws because the promo is still on and in addition to the N50 million that we will be giving out, we still have N70 million and several consolation prizes yet to be won”, he said.

Shedding light on how people can qualify for the draw, Head, Savings group, Fidelity Bank Plc, Janet Nnabuko, stated that both existing and new customers can win by simply topping their account with N10,000 for existing customers or someone opening a new account and building it up to N20,000.

She further disclosed that to qualify for the star prize of N3 million one needs to build his account to N50,000 while aspiring for the grand prize of N10 million, one only has to grow his account to N200,000.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 5 million customers that are serviced across its 250 business offices and various digital banking channels. The bank focuses on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and its currently driving its retail banking businesses through its robust digital banking channels.

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BUSINESS

Access Bank expands footprint, commences operations in Cameroon

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Nigerian banking group Access Bank just created a subsidiary in Cameroon. With an initial capital of about XAF14.5 billion, the new subsidiary’s headquarters will be in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.  

The administrative board of this subsidiary is constituted of seven members with only one Cameroonian, the legal notice published for the creation indicates. These members are Patience Melone, Iyabode Soji-Okusanya, Fatai Oladipo, Abraham Aziegbe, Ibukunoluwa Odegbaike, and Elliz Nzo Azu.

Created for a duration of 99 years, the bank has chosen Price Water House Coopers as its external auditor and will operate in the management of current accounts, savings collection, checks payment and credit granting.

As required by the rules in force, the launch of Access Bank Cameroon’s activities in Cameroon is still subject to the issuance, by the Ministry of Finance and the banking commission COBAC, of various legal notices and authorizations to the bank’s shareholders.

If it succeeds in launching its subsidiary in Cameroon, Access Bank Plc will become the 16th commercial bank to operate in the country and will meet one of its compatriots, United Bank of Africa (UBA), on that market. Its entering the Cameroonian market some years after the departure of another Nigerian group, Oceanic Bank International namely.

Some years ago, Oceanic Bank International took over 54.5% of Union Bank of Cameroon’s (UBC) assets saving it from bankruptcy. However, in 2011, Ecobank had to buy Oceanic Bank International’s assets in UBC, which is a well-rooted bank in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

In January 15, 2019, Access Bank Plc’s executive director, Victor Etokwu announced that apart from the Cameroonian subsidiary, the banking group would create subsidiaries in two other African countries this year. The banking group will then have 18 subsidiaries in Africa.

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