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FirstBank marches on at 125, brings the world to a standstill

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Nigeria’s Premier financial institution and iconic banking Brand, First Bank of Nigeria Limited had the world stand still on Friday, 1 March 2019, as it held its symbolic flag hoisting ceremony across Nigeria and other countries where it does business. The celebratory flag hoisting officially flags off the bank’s commemoration of attaining the milestone year of 125.

The event was also to reinforce the Bank’s continuous march to greatness; a march that exemplifies tenacity, doggedness, viability, socio-economic impact and commitment across the length and breadth of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

The flag hoisting ceremony was held in honour of the Bank’s illustrious journey that started 125 years ago, a journey that encompasses more than half a dozen nations across Africa, Europe and Asia; notably Ghana, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, China, UK and France.

The distinctively designed anniversary flag comprised the Bank’s iconic logo – the elephant head in the yellow gold dynamic shape; the figure 125 written in The Dreamer Font with the number “5” chipped out of an elephant tusk; the weaving needle; the embroidered fabrics from different cultures – Yoruba Adire, Tiv Lishi, Ghana Kente, the Scottish kilt to illustrate the diversity of a brand that transcends beyond borders and across Continents.

In the course of the event, the symbolic flag was presented to the Oba of Lagos, his Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, in recognition of his traditional leadership of Lagos, the State where the journey began 125 years ago; the Chief of Naval Staff, represented by Rear Admiral Adebari, in recognition of the movement across the waters by the Bank’s founders from the United Kingdom; the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Adebisi Shonubi represented by Director of Banking Operations, Dipo Fatokun as the event is not just about FirstBank but to pride the industry as one that has impacted the Nation through a century and a quarter years and lastly, the Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar N. Onyema, signifying the Bank as the oldest listed company.

In the welcome address delivered by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, he noted that the flag symbolises the identity, impact, permanence and reverence of a long-standing institution which predates Nigeria as a unified entity and added that FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with the Bank’s involvement in every stage of national growth and development.
Reinforcing the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, whilst forging ahead into the future, across its business location, Adeduntan said “Supporting our host communities to promote sustainable development and of course, putting You First, in all our business activities are some of the many secrets of our long existence. We are now building for the next 125 years and beyond; purposefully blazing the trail in our industry and ensuring that we maintain our leadership position.
Expressing his goodwill message to the Bank, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar N. Onyema OON buttressed the Bank’s impact on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He said “FirstBank is one of the very first companies to be listed on the Exchange and they have become a bellwether for us when you look at the Banking industry.
In addition Onyema identified the leadership role by the Bank in the NSE stating that “They have also produced a number of Presidents of the Council of the Exchange; from Oba Otudeko to Asabia and other captains of industry that FirstBank has offered to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Also speaking, Mr Adebisi Shonubi, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, represented by Director of banking operations, Dipo Fatokun lauded the bank for its achievement in the development of the financial sector and Nigeria as a whole.

Shonubi said that the history of the Central Bank of Nigeria cannot be written without the name of the Bank, FirstBank, lettered in gold, as the Bank has impacted the nation at large.

Other eminent personalities and dignitaries at the event include the former Managing Director of FirstBank and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Joseph Sanusi; immediate past Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya; Former Nigerian Minister of Industry and former President of the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Nike Akande and former Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson.

Horse guards parade by the Nigeria Police were at the venue to add to the glitz and glamour of the event as well the military band who were on ground to provide music throughout the event, thereby instilling the Bank’s resolve to foster its support to customers, Nigeria and other locations across Continents where the Bank operates.

The anniversary flag and flag of countries where the Bank does business were hoisted at the Bank’s headquarters to represent the nations, peoples and the diversity the Bank represents.

The 125 anniversary celebration will continue all through the month of March and through the year with other activities which include the Bell Ringing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange; a religious thanks-giving to be held in churches and mosques across Continents and locations of its business activities; the Anniversary Lecture; the Anniversary Gala Dinner & Command drama Performance by the famed Bola Austen Peters group among others. Staff and customers of the bank will also have the opportunity to participate in the milestone ceremony with donations and volunteering efforts as part of the bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability initiative, SPARK (Spreading Acts of Random Kindness)

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BUSINESS

#SheVentures: 4 reasons every Nigerian business woman should consider this new proposition

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Reports show that women make up 49% of Nigeria’s adult population. However, only about 42% of them have access to formal financial services. Moreover, 42.7% of Nigerian women are business owners out of which only an estimated 2% have access to capital and loans to grow their businesses. It is also reported that around 7 million businesses will be set-up by Nigerian women in the year 2021 with the potential to create 8.9 million jobs and unlock billions in revenue for the country.

On Thursday, March 7th, 2019 at an impressive ceremony in Lagos, leading Nigerian financial institution First City Monument Bank (FCMB) unveiled #SheVentures, its brand-new proposition to support the growth of businesses owned or managed by women. The event, which was part of the Bank’s activities to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme “Balance for Better” provided the right opportunity to highlight how FCMB is helping women close the gaps in the world of business.

If you are a woman who runs a business in Nigeria, here are 4 reasons you should seriously consider FCMB’s #SheVentures proposition:

  1. Mentorship: Through a network of qualified mentors carefully selected by FCMB, #SheVentures offers Nigerian businesswomen access to guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling for a successful career.
  2. Capacity building and training: The Bank has also partnered with consultants in various fields of business to provide key professional services at discounted rates to its women in business customers. Not forgetting exclusive business training events which FCMB either directly organizes or in partnership with other leading organizations.
  3. Access to loans at zero (yes, zero!) or competitive interest rates: Through its flagship zero percent loan product, FCMB offers short-term loans to female customers who need quick access to funds. At the #SheVentures launch event alone, about 40 female SMEs were awarded loans of between N500,000 to N5,000,000 at zero percent interest.  In addition, there are other loans such as the FCMB BOI Gender Loan, which comes at 15% interest.
  4. Supporting women in business are of strategic importance to FCMB: At the launch of #SheVentures, Adam Nuru, said the Bank strongly believes in the power of entrepreneurship. He added that the contribution of women to economic development cannot be understated, as over 30% of businesses owned globally are either female owned or managed. On her part, FCMB’s Executive Director, Business Development, Bukola Smith, said ‘’the #SheVentures proposition is as much a statement of substance as it is one of intent. We are passionate about supporting women in business. The #SheVentures offerings are tailored to offer sustainable benefits to women-owned SMEs and support them to increase their productivity and contributions in the areas of job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, empowerment and the overall development of Nigeria.”

So, now you know – FCMB is providing the right support to help the Nigerian businesswoman thrive in all #SheVentures to do!

For more information about #SheVentures, please click https://on.fcmb.com/SheVentures-10.

(P.S. – a few pictures from the launch of FCMB #SheVentures are shown below.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BUSINESS

Local bond market attracts $6b, says CBN

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THE successful conduct of the general elections is rubbing off positively on investments, with the inflow of over $6 billion into the local bond market.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele described the foreign capital inflows to the bond market as an indication of the continued investors’ confidence in the strength of the economy.

The CBN boss, who spoke yesterday at the BusinessDay Post-Election Economic Agenda Conference in Lagos, also set a post-election agenda for the nation’s monetary policy. The current policy stance of the bank is expected to continue while inflation is estimated to rise to 12 per cent and moderate thereafter.

Emefiele said the Nigeria bond market remains one of the most attractive investment destinations – In Bloomberg’s Emerging-Market Local-Currency Government Bonds index, which covers major emerging markets, including Nigeria, South Africa and Argentina.

He said Nigeria’s bond continue to top the chart due to the stability of the Investors’ & Exporters’ Forex rate and the yields being high by emerging-market standards.

Investors, Emefiele said, are sure that they can exit their positions if they want, which has been crucial in driving other investors into the market.

Emefiele hinged the monetary policy stance of the bank on rising inflation expectations.

He, however, noted that the bank would adjust the policy rate in line with unfolding conditions and outlooks. Just as in the previous year, he said the Bank would continue in its drive to ensure that the policy interest rate is set to balance the objectives of price stability with output stabilisation.

The CBN boss also explained that since the establishment of the I&E Window in April 2017, the country has recorded about $35 billion in autonomous inflows through the window alone.

He said: “As a result, exchange rate pressures eased considerably across all markets as the rates converged to about N360/$ and the distortive premium almost eliminated. At the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment, we saw a significant appreciation of the naira from over N525/$ in February 2017 to about N360/$ today. Rates at the I&E window also appreciated from nearly N382/$ in May 2017 to just over N360/$.”

On the exchange rate policy, he said the bank, despite the expected pressures from the volatility in the crude oil markets, will maintain its stable exchange rate over the next year.

“Gross stability is projected in the foreign exchange market, given increased oil production and contained import bill”, he said.

Emefiele expressed optimism that the country’s Balance of Payments would remain positive in the short-term, adding that the current account balance could improve further if oil prices continued to recover. He assured that this would be “supported by improved non-oil performance as diversification efforts begin to yield results to reduce undue imports.”

Warning that the issues that led to the economic crisis between 2015 and 2017 remained visible, Emefiele stressed the need to significantly increase the country’s policy buffers, including fiscal measure, to increase its external reserve. He also reiterated the need to diversify the revenue structure of the Federal Government, in order to reduce dependence on direct proceeds from the sale of crude oil.

He further advised that cheap financing be provided to boost local production of priority goods in critical sectors of the economy in order to reduce reliance on foreign imports.

He also used the platform to highlight the efforts made by the CBN in the past five years in monetary policy and development finance, disclosed that the weakening of the Naira impacted the balance sheets of domestic banks.

However, he said the bank took some measures such as monitoring the financial position and performance of supervised institutions and the assessment of the risk profile and governance management practices of banks, to guarantee financial stability.

He listed other efforts carried out by the Bank to ensure financial system stability and the promotion of sustainable economic development to include the establishment of the investors and exporters’ window; conservation of foreign exchange through the restriction of access to foreign exchange on 43 items; and increased lending to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

The governor, while soliciting continued support for the policy measures that restrict import of items that could be produced in Nigeria as well as increased penalty for smuggling of restricted items in Nigeria, expressed optimism that the Nigerian economy in post-May 2019 will witness growth and reduced unemployment.

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BUSINESS

PHOTO NEWS: Keystone Bank visits State of Osun government

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(L-R) Regional Bank Head, Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Olaniran Olayinka; the Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Chief Benedict Alabi; and Divisional Head, West, Keystone Bank Limited, Mr Ademola Adeyemi; during a courtesy visit by the management of Keystone Bank to the State of Osun Deputy Governor in his office at Osogbo, on Wednesday.
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