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Group honours Heritage Bank for supporting young business owners in Nigeria

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The decision of Heritage Bank Plc to support young entrepreneurs in the country is beginning to pay off as the nation’s most innovative banking service provider was recently awarded for its outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of Young Business Owners in Nigeria.

At the 5th anniversary ceremony of the highly-rated Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) Awards for 2018, the lender honoured for its efforts.

Recall that recently, the financial institution was bestowed with the Best Bank of the Year Business Support/Entrepreneur Development at the Africa Value Award 2018. It was also adjudged as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2018 by Capital Finance International (CFI.co) and as the Agriculture Bank of the Year 2018 by the Nigeria Agriculture Awards (MAA).

Heritage Bank was further honoured for being the Best CIBN Chapter of the Year 2018 in terms of members’ mobilization and participation as well as sponsorship of the Institute programmes; Most Supportive Bank of the Year at the fourth edition of Green October Event 2018, organised by Alamode Magazine amongst others.

Speaking at the highly-rated NYPF Awards for 2018, a non-governmental organisation, in Abuja, MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr Ifie Sekibo, who was immensely honoured by the award, said it speaks volume of the bank’s efforts to demonstrate its commitment towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasingly competitive workforce.

“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the entrepreneurial growth and welfare of youth is to see young men and women play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” Mr Sekibo said.

The MD, who was represented by Mr Jubril Adeojo, Team Lead, Power Corporate Banking, said Heritage Bank is positioned to lead the recovery of the Nigerian economy through enhancing youth entrepreneurship development and engendering self-employment via its various initiatives and products.

According Mr Sekibo, the drive to continue in the support of youths was to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.

He explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Mr Sekibo restated that the aim of Heritage Bank being in the forefront of youth empowerment is to emancipate the latent entrepreneurial spirit in the teeming youths, by providing adequate and affordable loans to execute their business ideas and, hopefully, migrate them to successful Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), thereby, providing the mechanism of stimulating growth, reducing unemployment as well as addressing youth restiveness in the economy.

Chairman of the NYPF, Mr Moses Siloko Siasia, disclosed that the NGO’s success stories and feats attained were made possible by the supports from Heritage Bank. He also commended Mr Sekibo for taking it upon himself to support NYPF.

He hinted that the forum, in the last five years, was able to make a lot of milestone achievements like providing employment for 780 unemployed youths nationwide.

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However, NYPF, as part of events to celebrate its fifth anniversary, gave out honorary awards and scholarships to several dignitaries, and students, yesterday.

All the award recipients, according to the organizers, were thoroughly considered and shortlisted in recognition of their meritorious service in support for nation building and advancement of democracy, development and good governance in Nigeria.

Some of the beneficiaries of the awards are the Imam of Nghar Village, Gashish district in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State, Abdullahi Abubakar alongside Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of AfDB, Dr. Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, Deputy Governor of Kano State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, governors Ifeanyi Okowa, Okezie Ipkeazu.

Others were Senator Daisy Danjuma, Chief Osasumwen Igbinedion CEO, TOS TV Networks and Dr. Elisha Attai, Founder of AWLO and Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive of Connected Development CODE, whilst Diplomatic award was presented to the Embassy of Spain, Nigeria.

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Q1 2019: Zenith Bank sustains market dominance with improved profitability

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In the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, Zenith Bank Group recorded improved numbers across key metrics, driven by a solid performance in all business segments. This resulted in a Profit before Tax (PBT) of ₦57 billion, representing a 6% growth over the ₦54 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2018. The Group’s on-going commitment to cost optimisation on the income statement and statement of financial position ensured earnings per share increased by 7% to ₦1.60 compared to Q1 2018.

The growth in net interest income and operating income by 23% and 1% respectively mitigated the decline in gross earnings. The effective management of cost-to-income ratio, cost of funds and cost of risk offset top-line declines to deliver an enhanced operating income in the period.

Our risk and asset quality continues to improve as cost of risk dropped significantly by 52% from 0.9% in the prior year to 0.4% for the period. This was achieved as impairment charges declined by 54% (₦2.5 billion year on year reduction). Our cost of funds also improved, declining by 25% from 4% in Q1 2018 to 3% at quarter-end. This was supported by a 22% decrease in interest expense of ₦10 billion over the same period, affirming the Group’s robust treasury and liquidity management. Our prudent cost management led to a 5% decline in our cost-to-income ratio by 5% from 53.3% in 2018 to 50.9% in the period with an absolute reduction in operating expenses by ₦2.3 billion year-on-year.

The Group’s retail franchise continues to increase as retail deposits grew by N80bn between December 2018 and March 2019 representing a 9% growth notwithstanding the fact that total customer deposits dropped marginally by 3%. The drop in customer deposits was as a result of rebalancing of the deposit mix as expensive purchased deposits were forgone in favour of cheaper and stickier retail deposits.

The volume and value of transactions across our electronic and digital platforms continue to grow as new customers are being acquired. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen as liquidity ratio is at 66.7%, loan to deposit ratio closed at 43%, and capital adequacy ratio ended the period at 25% respectively and remain above the relevant regulatory thresholds as at 31 March 2019.

Going into the rest of the year and with improving economic fundamentals, we are confident of delivering value to all our stakeholders on our commitments even as we create more opportunities for businesses by supporting them through selective risk asset creation. We shall continue our investments in the retail segment of the market as we consolidate our leadership position in the corporate segment while maintaining a strong balance sheet.

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Keystone Bank, others partner Mojec to roll out prepaid meters

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L-R: Head, Personal Banking, Wema Bank Plc – Mr. Abiola Afolayan; Chairman, Mojec International Limited, Mrs Mojisola Abdul; Managing Director, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul; Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate, Keystone Bank Limited, Yemi Odusanya and Group Head, Retail & SME, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Olugbenga Akinmade at a press conference and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding ceremony between Mojec and the partner banks on the roll out of prepaid meters, held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019.

Mojec Meter Assets Management Company, a subsidiary of Mojec International Limited, has announced partnership with Keystone Bank Limited and other leading banks in Nigeria to provide retail financing for rollout of prepaid meters to its customers within the coverage area of its partner Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.

This is a major step ahead of the commencement of the much-anticipated Meter Asset Providers (MAP) scheme.

The partnership announcement was made at a press conference and Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019 between Mojec and the partner banks. The partner banks include Keystone Bank, Unity Bank, Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, First Bank, Wema Bank, Sterling Bank and First Option Micro-finance Bank.

MAP is a scheme approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) through a regulation meant for the provision, supply, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by Meter Asset Providers with a view to fast-tracking a closure of the metering gap and end estimated billing in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul disclosed that the company was determined to bridge the metering gap in the power sector by ensuring provision of top-quality electricity meters to consumers in Nigeria.

“Now that MAP is here, Mojec is once again blazing the trail in the provision of high-end quality pre-paid meters to consumers, helping to reduce the financial burden estimated electricity billing is putting on electricity consumers,” Abdul said, noting that Mojec as a company has invested a lot of resources, positioning it as best suited to meet the metering needs of all consumers within the coverage of its partner DISCOs.

She further explained that Mojec would be partnering with eight DISCOs including, Ikeja Electric, Eko DISCO, Abuja DISCO, Kano DISCO, Enugu DISCO, Jos DISCO, Ibadan DISCO and Kaduna DISCO covering about 20 states of the federation.

In his remarks after the MoU signing, the Acting Managing Director/CEO, Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Abubakar Danlami Sule, represented by Mr. Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate shared the bank’s driving motivation for the partnership. “The importance of energy in the growth of businesses and for the livelihood of homes in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

“Energy cost is by all standards the major cost line in most homes and businesses.

“The scheme is set to eradicate the unnecessary prevalence of estimated billing which deprived the national economy of funds which otherwise could be deployed into other productive use.

“We are therefore excited to be part of this initiative to bring electricity to homes and businesses at the most prudent cost, putting households and business in control of their expenditure pattern.” He concluded.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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CBN boosts Forex market with another $210 million

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The interbank segment of the Foreign Exchange Market has received a boost of $210 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following sales concluded on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

According to figures obtained from the Bank, authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market were offered the sum of $100million. Similarly, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million, while customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the transactions and disclosed that the effort of the Bank had helped to reduce exchange rate pressures across all segments of the market. According to him, the stability of the exchange rate underscored the level of confidence investors and the public had in the Naira.

It will be recalled that the Bank, at its last intervention on Friday, April 5, 2019, injected the sum of $247.8 million and CNY34.8 million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) segment.

Meanwhile, the Naira on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, exchanged at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.

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