Unity Bank Plc has won the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 2018 sustainable banking award, clenching the award for ‘Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Agriculture’.
The Bank won the coveted award for its compliance with the Sustainable Banking Principles as it relates to the management of Environmental and Social Risk set out by the CBN for adoption by Nigerian Banks, Discount Houses and Development Banks.
While presenting the award to Unity Bank at the just concluded Bankers’ Committee held in Lagos, the apex bank commended the efforts of the lender in promoting the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) project, adding that the bank deserves the award because of the role it played in actualization and management of this audacious project.
The active involvement of the Bank in various financing schemes has resulted in creating huge social and economic impact on the income of households involving over 270,000 participating small holder farmers thereby boosting not only the gross domestic product but also helping to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
Commenting on the development, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun dedicated the award to all farmers and businesses in agriculture value chain, stressing that: “We have successfully on-boarded over 90,000 hitherto financially excluded farmers and generated bank verification number for them to facilitate financial and banking transaction. Capacities of about 60 agro input suppliers were expanded through provision of facilities and financial advisory services’’.
“Unity Bank’s Environmental and social Management Program covers comprehensive business operations that minimizes adverse impact on the environment in the scope of its business activities.”
“The Code of Corporate Governance requires companies to act in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and Unity Bank has domesticated the principles in its commitment to save the environment from degradation or pollution.”
Speaking further, Somefun disclosed that the Bank’s environmental management policies and strategies comprehensively covers priority areas that encourages bio-diversity, green initiatives, recycling of waste, reduction of carbon emission geared towards promoting sustainability, conservation and environmental protection.
Unity Bank Plc is a niche player in Agricultural financing in Nigeria, with active participation in most government intervention schemes and support for key policy initiatives. These are aimed at driving growth and transformation of Nigeria’s Agricultural economy.
Herbert Wigwe: The amazing story of Nigeria’s most quintessential banker
Herbert Wigwe is in the league of men whose fame have a hard time catching up with their remarkable achievements. He is the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank. You may have heard of them. Under his leadership the Bank, has roared into the limelight, with the many brilliant strides and policies executed since he took over at the helm.
He is easily one of the best banking brains and business leaders on the continent – evident in his immense contribution to the African banking industry. Herbert’s story is a remarkable one and his journey up until this point is enough blueprint for anyone looking to achieve success in their path.
From his early 20’s, Herbert began what would become a successful career in banking and finance, his first entrepreneurial venture, would be his most successful.
Herbert attended Federal Government College (FGC) Sokoto before moving to FGC Warri, he graduated from FGC Warri in 1982 and is fondly remembered not only as a brilliant student but as an avid cricket player.
Although Herbert failed the JAMB examination the first time in 1982, it never deterred him, he persisted and was successfully enrolled at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 1983 where he study Accountancy, graduating with a Second Class Upper honours degree in 1987.
In 1988, Herbert completed the compulsory NYSC program, he would then land a job with Coopers and Lybrand Associates Limited in Lagos as a graduate assistant and was promoted within a year.
In 1989, Herbert passed his Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) professional examination and moved on to work as a credit analyst at Capital Merchant Bank.
In 1990, Herbert won the British Council Scholarship to study at North Wales University (now Bangor University). He earned his M.A in Banking and Finance in 1991. He returned to Lagos to join a fast growing new generation bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, gradually rising through the ranks to become an Executive Director at the age of 32.
Born in Ibadan, Oyo state in 1966, Herbert Wigwe found his calling in finance at the age of 16. He started out his career at the Coopers and Lybrand Associates, Lagos, as a management consultant. He soon got to be a chartered accountant and subsequently went to work at Guaranty Trust Bank Limited. In his time at the bank, spanning over a decade, Herbert rose through the ranks to become the Executive Director – Corporate and Investment Banking. Herbert’s career lends credence to the point that practice is what you do that makes you good. His work ethic and dedication to his career path is exemplary.
The Access Bank story
After over a decade at Guaranty Trust Bank, in 2002, he answered the lifelong call of entrepreneurship when he and his long-time partner and close friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede were presented with the prospect of acquiring a small-scale commercial bank, Access Bank. To have even considered such a decision of obtaining what was then ranked the 65th largest bank in Nigeria seemed like career suicide. In 2016, the Banker Database ranked Access Bank in the top 1,000 banks in the world.
Today, Access Bank is one of the largest Banks in Africa, a feat which is attributable to his ingenuity and expertise.
Everything Herbert had done up until that moment had prepared him uniquely for success. His professionalism, work ethic and brilliance had been evident long before the Access Bank deal. He practiced and practiced, did his due diligence and, when the moment arrived to venture out, he was ready.
TODAY, Access Bank PLC, is a leading full service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 29 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 thousand people in its operations in Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE.
Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998, Access Bank is a diversified financial institution which combines a strong retail customer franchise and digital platform with deep corporate banking expertise and proven risk management and capital management capabilities. The Bank serves its various markets through five business segments: Personal, Business, Commercial, Corporate & Investment Banking and Operations and IT. The Bank has over 800,000 shareholders, including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors, and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa's most successful banking growth trajectory in the last 17 years. Following its merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank became one
of Africa’s largest retail banks.
As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.
A family focused man, Herbert is married to Chizoba Wigwe (nee Nwuba). Herbert and his lovely wife, whom he met when she moved back to Nigeria have since lived together happily. Her genuine smile and intelligence have remained some of the nourishing tonics for the marriage.
The couple married 5 months after meeting, their union is blessed with four children: Chizi, Tochi, Hannah, and David. Herbert is a devoted father and considers his family, “His greatest treasure.”
Despite his busy schedule, Herbert follows his children’s daily school progress and affairs religiously, regardless of his location. Herbert credits his ability to seamlessly balance the busy world of Banking and family life, to his wife, Chizoba.
ACCESS BANK’S BLOG: https://www.accessbankplc.com/pages/Media/access-blog/Herbert-Wigwe.aspx
Titan Trust Bank set for grand entry into Nigeria
Barring any last-minute changes, one of the five new banks licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Titan Trust Bank Limited is set for entry into the Nigerian banking industry in grand style, in a matter of weeks, The Witness can authoritatively reveal.
The Witness had reported that the CBN recently approved licenses for five new banks to operate in the country.
While others are still recruiting and putting things in place, inside sources say Titan Trust, a national financial institution, has completed its processes and is set for take-off soon.
Led by seasoned banker and former deputy governor of the CBN, Mr. Tunde Lemo as chairman, the new commercial bank, sources informed The Witness is starting operation with a solid post capitalization financial base in real cash.
Some of those already on board the new bank are experienced financial gurus, giving the signal that the bank is ready the compete with the long-standing and well-rooted Nigerian banks.
According to the lender, the bank was formed to take advantage of the identified gaps in the banking sector and address the unmet needs of the retail mass market, SMEs and corporates.
The new bank headquartered at Plot 1680, Sanusi Fafunwa Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria has the following facilities: Commercial Banking, SME Banking, Digital Banking amongst others. On its commercial banking services, the lender said on its website: “As a national commercial bank, we are committed to supporting businesses, giving them the power to build a better future. Each day, companies are working together to create sustainable economic value.
“We are committed to that vision by ensuring we provide business capital and resources, primed to support these visions, as we continue to tell Africa’s story.”
Titan Trust Bank believes there is nothing like a small business. “All businesses are exactly that; businesses! Our team is made of professionals with an entrepreneurial mindset, working to help you and your business take advantage of the many benefits of banking with Titan, and give your competition a run for their money,” it said.
Titan Trust further posited that it will leverage on digital platforms to empower the emerging pan-African economy, whilst showcasing the industry pioneering solutions, expertise and professionalism.
Established on the 12th of December 2018, the bank obtained its national banking license on the 26th of April 2019, to operate as a commercial bank with national authorization.
OTHERS IN THE TITAN TEAM
Mr. Andrew Ojei
Mr. Andy Ojei is a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria as well as a Fellow and Council Member of The Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria.
He was the pioneer managing director of Zenith Bank, Ghana. He left Zenith Bank Plc in June 2013 as an executive director after 21 years of service. He is a seasoned businessman with interests in real estate and information technology.
Ojei, an alumnus of the University of Lagos, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, INSEAD (France), Stanford (Singapore) and Wharton (Philadelphia) currently serves as a member of the Governing Council of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed
Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience managing and leading businesses across the country.
He is the managing director of Syndicated Investment Limited, a construction firm. He has held this post for over 33 years.
He has also been the chairman/CEO of Impex Limited, a security, contracting and trading company since 1993.
Alhaji Aminu Bashari
Alhaji Bashari Aminu (Iyan Zazzau), is the chairman of the Board of Directors of Vital Products Limited.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants (UK) and a Fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria. He is a senior title holder in the Emirate of Zazzau and was a Senior District Head of Sabon-Gari, Zaria in Kaduna State from 1979 to 2018.
He is currently on the board of several companies.
Mudassir Amray – MD/CEO
Mudassir Amray is a banker with over 25 years of global exposure across six geographies (US, Nigeria, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Pakistan).
He has held senior positions in global banks such as: Citi New York – Managing Director & Head of Global Capital Management (LATAM), Citi Nigeria – Managing Director & Head of Corporate & Investment Banking, Nigeria and Ghana, Al Rajhi Malaysia – Country Business Head, Citi HK – Head of Capital Management, Asia Pacific, Citi Singapore – Head of Islamic Banking, Asia Pacific, Citi Pakistan, Country Business Head.
Adaeze Udensi – Executive Director
Adaeze has over 23 years’ banking experience, and was until recently, an Executive Director in Heritage Bank.
In her four years as executive director, she supervised the South businesses; oversaw Retail, Private Wealth, Collections, E-Business, Customer Experience and IT functions; and served as Executive Compliance Officer.
Adaeze also acted as managing director of Heritage Bank in 2017. Prior to this, she spent 16 years in Zenith Bank growing its Oil & Gas, Public Sector, Commercial and Retail businesses into the 2nd largest portfolio in the Bank, leaving as a general manager.
Adaeze has a first degree in banking, and MBA’s from Rivers State University of Science & Technology, and the University of Bangor, Wales.
She has also attended several Executive Management Programmes in Wharton Business School, Kellogg School of Management, Harvard Business School, and INSEAD.
Stella Nwihim – Head of HR
Stella is a seasoned professional with over 21 years’ experience spanning Human Resources, Sales and Banking Operations.
She has held key HR positions in Zenith Bank Plc and UBA Plc including Head Workforce Planning, Head Shared Services and Head Business Partnering, where she made significant contributions in organizational development, performance and change management and business strategy.
She holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. (Biology) and an MBA (Management) and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Mark Oguh – CFO
Mark has 22 years’ experience in the banking industry covering Operations, Audit and Financial Control.
He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in accountancy and business administration and an MBA in banking and finance. He was the financial controller at Diamond Bank from 2015 to March 31, 2019.
Ademola Ajayi – Chief Compliance Officer
Ademola Ajayi is the chief compliance officer of Titan Trust Bank Limited. He holds Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting (First Class Honours) from Babcock University, Ilishan Ogun State. He also holds Higher National Diploma in accounting with Upper credits class from the Polytechnic, Ibadan. He is a fellow (FCA) of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN). He is also an Associate of Compliance Institute of Nigeria (CIN). He is a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered Compliance Officer and a registered professional of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN). Internationally, he is a Certified Compliance Officer (CCO) and Certified Fraud and Crime; Investigation and Prevention by GAFM USA. He is also a fellow of GAFM USA.
He has been in the Nigerian Banking Sector since 1996, well over 2 decades, with experience cutting across financial control, credit review and monitoring, business development, banking operations, internal controls, internal audit, inspection and compliance functions. His career in banking started in NAL Merchant Bank, where he did the mandatory one year national youth service. Immediately after his service year, he was recruited by Zenith Bank, where he performed creditably well in banking operations generally, controls and risk management related functions, and later with specific focus on compliance risk management role. He played a key role in setting up compliance department in Zenith Bank and took same to an enviable height. Ademola AJAYI is a team player, and will positively impact any team he finds himself. He has attended compliance trainings, locally and internationally. He is also a competent trainer on compliance matters.
George Aiyudu – Head of IT
George is a certified COBIT implementer with over 21 years banking experience covering Banking Operations, International Operations and Information Technology.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and also holds a Masters Degree in Business Information Systems. He was the Group Head, IT Change and Transformation at Diamond Bank.
Fidelity Bank partners NIPOST, launches agency banking
To make financial inclusion a reality, Fidelity Bank is collaborating with the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) to bring modern banking services directly to people in 266 rural areas.
Speaking at the launch of integrated banking services between the bank and NIPOST in Abuja on Thursday, Deputy Managing Director of the bank Mr. Mohammed Balarabe said the lender was collaborating with NIPOST as part of its financial inclusion strategy by deploying all its banking services in 266 locations using NIPOST offices in locations lacking banking facilities.
These initial 266 locations he said will be increased over time to capture other locations using NIPOST offices.
Under this collaboration, bank customers can use POS, deposit into any bank operating in Nigeria, withdraw from any bank account in Nigeria, engage in ATM transactions, transfer to any bank account, carry out payment services like taxes, rates and levies; school fees; electricity bills and satellite television subscriptions.
In his address, Post Master General of the Federation (PMG) and Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST Mr. Bisi Adegboye said NIPOST “the sleeping giant has come back to life to fulfil its Corporate Social Responsibility.”
He said: “The internet has taken away the old ways of making money from NIPOST but has also opened exponential opportunities by leveraging on new technology and ICT to tap into current trends of transactions like online purchases.”
NIPOST he assured will make itself relevant to change the lives of Nigerians.
One of such changes is that NIPOST now plans to give every Nigerian a digital address yo make easy for Nigerians to access credit and resolve issues surrounding identity management in the country.
Adegboye said “this partnership also avails Fidelity Bank the opportunity to expand its network using the over 1800 post office facilities nationwide to take banking closer to the people in line with the Federal government’s Financial Inclusion policy which places high premium on providing financial services to the under-banked and unbanked populace, who work in the informal sector of the economy without or less access to financial services.”
He added that “the integrated Agency Banking services incorporate the collections of a treasury single account (TSA) on a single platform. With this development, it means that NlPOST customers can also get banking services in the Post offices nationwide and can deposit and withdraw money, including payment of bills for utility services in Post offices where these services are available without stress.”
The collaboration he stated has “added impetus to NIPOST revenue drive as it would no doubt boost our revenue profile in addition to tradition postal services.”
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