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Diamond, Access Bank merger creating value to banking sector

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The business combination of Access Bank and Diamond Bank Merger is expected to form a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank and the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 29 million clients.

Since the reforms of the banking sector was introduced in 2005 in Nigeria, merger and acquisition become one of the ways of ensuring capitalization in the system.

That explains why when Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, announced plans for merger, it did not take many analysts unaware, rather they believed it will create a robust governance structure and for the system.

And so as Nigerians await the completion of the ongoing merger transaction between Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, the two Banks has continued to perform beyond analyst expectations.

Access Bank and Diamond Bank accounted for more than one-quarter of total turnover at the Nigerian equities market recently. The two commercial banks emerged the two most active stocks at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with a turnover of 832.55 million shares valued at N3.26 billion shares in 2,569 deals, representing 29.4 per cent of the total turnover at the equities market.

Diamond Bank, which was believed to have more valuation premium, was the most active stock with a turnover of 548.21 million shares valued at N1.32 billion in 713 deals. Access Bank, the post-merger entity, followed with a turnover of 284.34 million shares worth N1.94 billion in 1,856 deals. Total turnover at the NSE stood at 2.83 billion shares worth N28.14 billion in 28,739 deals.

By March 5, 2019 meeting, shareholders are expected to consider and approve the scheme of merger for the combination of the two banks. The approval of the scheme by the shareholders is the final major hurdle in a series of approvals needed to consummate the merger.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had earlier approved the scheme. Both CBN and SEC granted ‘Approval-in-Principle’ to the proposed scheme of merger after consideration of reports by parties to the transaction, leaving the decision to accept or reject the proposals to owners of the banks

The regulatory approvals had allowed the bank to proceed to the next stages of the business combination including obtaining an order of a Federal High Court to convene an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders for consideration of the proposed scheme, holding the court-ordered meeting of shareholders by each bank and the presentation of the approved scheme of merger to the Federal High Court for its sanction among others.

The Memorandum of Agreement and announcement of headline terms announced earlier by the banks had valued Diamond Bank at approximately NGN72.5 billion, about $200 million. The business combination will see Diamond Bank shareholders receiving N3.13 per share in cash and shares. Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration comprising of N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of two new Access Bank ordinary shares for every seven Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the implementation date.

The business combination is expected to form a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank and the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 29 million clients. Access Bank will be the post-merger entity while its Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe will continue to lead the post-merger management as chief executive.

Access Bank plans to leverage the best talent of both banks and combine them to create a leading banking franchise in Nigeria. However, while the post-merger entity will retain the Access Bank name, it is intended that the brand will be redesigned to include strong elements of Diamond Bank’s digital and retail brand.

According to the banks, cost synergies conservatively estimated at N30 billion per annum, pre-tax, will be fully realised within three years post-completion while further revenue and balance sheet synergies will be evaluated by joint implementation committee.

The two banks outlined the competitive advantages of the merger. Diamond Bank will benefit from Access Bank’s strong culture of risk and capital management expertise and a clear strategy for sustainable growth. Access Bank will take advantage of Diamond Bank’s unparalleled retail banking expertise and strong digital offering. Together, the two companies would create one of Nigeria’s leading banks, with 29 million customers, including more than 13 million mobile customers, as well as 3,100 ATMs and around 32,000 PoS terminals.

Diamond Bank and Access Bank share many of the same areas of focus, including women, youth, entrepreneurs and the financially excluded and will be able to further develop their positioning and market leadership in these growth sectors. Diamond Bank’s corporate customers will also be able to benefit directly from Access Bank’s corporate expertise in trade finance, cash management, treasury and corporate finance.

Diamond Bank currently has 19 million customers, including 10 million mobile users. The combined operation will have relationships with both MTN and Airtel, ensuring that customers of the merged bank will continue to access a strong mobile banking proposition. Access Bank and Diamond Bank also operate from the same technology platform, which the Boards believe will enable them to complete the integration with minimal disruption or impact on customers, in addition to generating significant synergies.

According to the Bank, Customers are at the heart of our decision to create one of Nigeria’s leading banks. ‘’The combination of Access Bank and Diamond Bank will result in real benefits. The products and services that Diamond Bank’s clients enjoy, including its commitment to digital innovation, will continue unchanged and will be backed by Access Bank’s own commitment to customers, financial inclusion and sustainability, and the bank’s corporate expertise and strong balance sheet’’.

‘’Together, we will bring the power of banking to millions across Nigeria, focused on speed, service and security. We are determined to ensure that both Access Bank and Diamond Bank customers will experience no disruption to normal banking services while we join forces to create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers. While there may be some changes in due course, we are committed to inform you ahead of time and in a way that is most convenient for you’’.

National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Boniface Okezie, called for calm amongst the investing community.

Okezie said, “If Diamond bank is operating 200 branches, considering the merger, Access bank will be a mega bank. I do not think there is any reason to panic as Access Bank is not new to the terrain, they know what they are doing and they must have done their homework to find out whether after the whole merger thing is done, they will still remain solid,

Also speaking, Head, Retail Banking, Diamond Bank Plc, Robert Giles while assuring Nigerians that the merger between Diamond and Access bank will bring the best of strong core print in treasury platform as well as the best of retail banking, noted that uique products such as Diamond Xtra, Xclusive Plus, High Interest Deposit Account (HIDA), Diamond Business Advantage (DBA) and Diamond Beta will remain even after the merger is completed.

Diamond Bank has a strong retail franchise especially on the liability side giving it the lowest funding cost among peers. A merger with Access Bank, which still has a relatively high funding cost will help the bank grow low cost liquidity base.

 

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FMBN disburses N23.3bn home renovation loans

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FirstBank splashes N2.7m scholarships on 18 customers

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L-R, Susie Onwuka, Consumer Protection Commission; Martin A, Akinrimisi, Business Development Manager, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Oma Ogban, Manager, Technology Advisory, (KPMG); Chuma Ezirim ,Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product , First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Simisola Munira, Lagos State Lottery Board; Abiodun Famuyiwa, Head, Retail Business & Community Banking, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Oluwaseun Adepoju-Iwuchukwu, Account Manager, Tequila Nigeria following the FirstBank XploreFirst grand finale raffle draw held in Lagos.

By Chinyere Joel- Nwokeoma (NAN)

 

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has splashed scholarships worth N2.7 million on 18 customers under its XploreFirst promo initiative to boost savings culture and promote financial inclusion among students.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winners were drawn from the six geopolitical zones and Lagos at the final/ grand raffle of XploreFirst promo on Friday in Lagos.

The winners emerged through an electronic draw handled by Tequila on behalf of the bank and supervised by KPMG, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lagos State Lottery Board and Consumer Protection Commission (CPC).

At the event, Mr Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, said: “XploreFirst is a FirstBank savings account variant designed specifically for students between the age range of 18 to 29.’’

Ezirim said that a minimum amount of N1, 000 was required to open the account and account holders are to maintain a minimum balance of N200 to run the account.

He said that the XploreFirst promo was one of the special benefits of the account.

According to him, the 18 winners that emerged at the final draw will be offered yearly scholarships of N150,000 each.

Ezirim said that the initiative was targeted at youths, especially those in tertiary institutions and informal sector, to enhance savings culture and drive financial inclusion across the country.

“Customers are offered yearly scholarships of N150,000 as incentives to maintain a certain amount of deposit, in this case, N10,000 in their account over a 30-day period to qualify for the monthly draws and giveaways.

“Customers who  successfully maintain the set balance over the six months period are eligible to win the jackpot of N150,000, the grand finale prize,’’ he said.

Ezirim noted that the initiative would be sustained by the ban k  in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financial inclusion mandate.

Also speaking, Mr Olufemi Odumuboni, the bank’s Head, Youth/Women Banking, said  the promo dynamics was centered at making people to engage in financial discipline.

Odumuboni said that winners were selected based on certain principles that made them eligible to qualify for the draw.

He explained that apart from the N2.7 million set aside for the yearly scholarships, the bank had splashed about N900, 000 to customers who emerged winners at the various monthly draws for data purchase for their mobile phones.

“Winners from the monthly draw selected from the bank’s six geopolitical zones are entitled to N5, 000 each which they are encouraged to use for data purchase for their mobile phones,” Odumuboni stated.

Ms Susie Onwuka of CPC, commended the bank for ensuring transparency throughout the promotion process.

Onwuka said the bank had deployed modern technology in the promo process to eliminate bias, noting that, the agency was happy with the process and the bank.

“Promotions should be registered to show transparency and ensure fairness to the consumers,” she said.

Onwuka said the regulatory body would follow up with the winners to ensure they were rewarded accordingly.

NAN reports that some of the scholarship winners included Mr Offiong Micheal, Mr Ezugba Chukwuebuka, Mr Olorunfemi Oluwatunmise, Mr Adekale Adenike and Ms Agbakwuru Dorcas

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More winners emerge in Fidelity Bank Get Alert in Millions Savings Promo (GAIM Season 3)

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L- R: Regional Bank Head, Rivers/ Bayelsa 2, Fidelity Bank Plc, Evi Kanu; Grand Prize Winner of N10 million of Fidelity Get Alert in Millions Savings Promo, John Silus, Poubo; Executive Director, South Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Aku Odinkemelu and wife of the star prize winner, Mrs Mary John Poubo at the grand prize presentation ceremony of Get Alert in Millions Savings Promo (GAIM Season 3) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday

L-R: Regional Bank Head, Rivers / Bayelsa 2, Fidelity Bank Plc, Evi Kanu; N2million winner, Okoye Ndubuisi; N3million winner, Kingsley Ibenegbu; Grand Prize N10million winner, John Silus Poubo; Executive Director, South, Fidelity Bank, Aku Odinkemelu; N2million winner, Dokpesi Nasiru; GAIM3 Dance Contest winner, The Exceptional Dancers, Daniel Clinton; Divisional Head, Retail Group, Richard Madiebo at the Grand Prize Presentation of Fidelity Get Alert in Millions Savings Promo (GAIM 3) in Port Harcourt on …TUESDAY

 

Mr John Pouba, a Seaman with an oil servicing company, has emerged winner of the N10 million grand prize in the Fidelity Bank’s Get Alert In Million (GAIM) Promo Season 3.

Pouba, who was announced the winner at the grand prize presentation ceremony in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, collected his cash prize at the occasion.

Alongside Pouba were four other winners of millions of Naira, namely; Mr Kingsley Ibenegbu, N3 million; Mr Nasiru Dokpesi, N2 million; Mr Oliver Okoye, N2 million and Nwodo Edeh, N1 million.

Ibenegbu, who is a technologist at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, described his prize as a miracle of God.

He said that he was billed for an eye surgery but due to lack of fund, he could not go.

He said that he was involved in a road traffic accident in November and his left lense (black eye) fell off the eye to the ground.

“I picked it up and took it to a hospital, the doctors immediately referred me to UNTH (University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital) which said I have retina detachment but unfortunately, the hospital did not have the equipment to help my case.”

Ibenegbu said that he got to a private hospital in Enugu and was told that the surgery would cost him N1.1 million which he did not have.

He said that further enquires got him to a private hospital in Ibadan where he was charged 350,000 but because he did not have such an amount, he pleaded to pay by instalments.

He said that the doctors refused but advised him to go and scout for money fast, adding that by that time, the remaining right eye had started paining him.

“I went round my relations and friends but I couldn’t get any money, so one of my friends advised me to pray to God for a destiny help.

“I went home that night and prayed earnestly to God, asking for the forgiveness of my sins and to bless me with a miracle; the following day, I got a call that I have won N3 million,” he said.

Ibenegbu, however, commended Fidelity Bank for the gesture and described it as a destiny help, adding that he would be going for the surgery in June.

The grand prize winner, Pouba, said he would invest the money in Fidelity but before that, he would consult with his account officer for advice.

Pouba and other winners thanked the bank for the gesture and urged it to continue making its customers millionaires.

In her opening address, Mrs Aku Odinkemere, Executive Director, South, said the essence of the promo was to encourage customers and their families to imbibe the saving culture.

Odinkemere, who represented the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, said that the importance of saving for a rainy day could not be over-emphasised.

She said that in 2017, a man won a house in Port Harcourt through the promo, adding that N110 million and 108 consolation prizes have been given out in the promo.

Past prize winners of the season’s promo, who were present at the occasion, recounted their joys when they received the calls announcing them winners and commended the bank for bettering their lives.

Refrigerator and power generating set were given out as consolation prizes to Nkem Isichei and Ejirooghene Ekeuwei, respectively.

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