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Unity Bank MD wins ‘top 25 CEOs Next Bulls’ award

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Unity Bank Plc MD/CEO, Mrs Oluwatomi Somefun

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Oluwatomi Somefun has won the 2019 Top 25 CEOs Next Bulls award in recognition of the bank’s stellar performance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The 5th edition of the ‘Top 25 CEOs & Next Bulls Award,’ which took place in Lagos on Friday, May 10 2019, is one of the stock barometer awards structured by Businessday Media in association with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

According to the organisers, Unity Bank ended the year as one of the companies with the best performing stocks, as its price opened at N0.53 and closed at N1.07, indicating a 101.89 per cent appreciation.

As reflected in its theme, a bull is the condition in financial market where the prices of a group of securities are rising or expected to rise. Thus, among the entities listed on the NSE, Unity Bank stocks stood out making one of the top 25 equities in the 2018 bull market with favourable conditions and stocks’ increases in value.

Commenting on the award, the Bank’s dynamic Managing Director who was ably represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Operations expressed appreciation to the organisers for their independent and objective analysis of stocks that saw the bank emerge tops in the awards.

The Bank in 2017 chose the tough but right path and resolved its legacy issues. “This bold action achieved notable points, including: reduction of NPL Ratio to zero per cent (0%); full de-risking of our balance sheet to remove toxic assets, total cleanup of our books and records as well as helping to fully mitigate the adverse impact of IFRS-9.

The Managing Director added that with a strong e-footprint in Agric Business, Retail and E-Business the lender is focused on Banking for the future.

For Unity Bank, the 2017 financial year will forever be known as one in which legacy clouds were laid to rest and the Bank arose to a new invigorated dawn. This according to dealers is attributable to the bank’s efficiency in curtailing cost, better market focus, revamp of electronic channels and increasing customer centricity which restored market confidence in the brand.

These strategic initiatives, amongst others, geared towards a complete transformation of Unity Bank and setting her up on the path of strong and sustainable growth and profitability, have endeared the lender to investors and contributed immensely to placing its CEO among top 25 that attracted the ‘next bulls” award.

Evidently, the courageous action taken by the Bank towards cleaning up observed issues, though resulted in temporary setbacks, but the Bank equally came out of the exercise a leaner, smarter and more dynamic Bank with a healthy Balance Sheet, Analysts have said.

Analysts see the NPLs resolution initiative and series of recoveries being made by the Management of the Bank as two-pronged approach to boost the Bank’s financial performance and create wealth for all existing and prospective shareholders.

These strategic initiatives according to industry experts rightly positioned Unity Bank, such that it successfully signed up 800,000 new customers and grew retail deposit base by 14 per cent in 2018 alone as a mark of growing customer conference.

The bank also worked on 4 important pillars:  deliberate improvement in risk management systems; improvement in internal processes; investment in technology and automation that helped development of products that customers have embraced for swift and convenience transactions.

Specifically, in its audited financial statements for the year ended December 31st, 2018, the lender returned to Profitability posting PAT of N1.27bn compared with a loss of N14.9bn in 2017. The Bank’s Balance Sheet Size also grew from N156.51billion in 2017 to N235.98 billion, culminating in Gross earnings of N37.33 billion for the year.

The Bank has continued to build business momentum with customer acquisition and improvement in deposit, thereby maintaining an upward trajectory in its Q1’19 results, posting a profit of N505m.

It also achieved mileage on the back of cost containment policy. Unity Bank’s cost minimization focus yielded positive results as the lender recorded a 20 per cent reduction in Total Operating Expenses from N24.460 in 2017 to N20.217 billion recorded in the year under review. This reduction is primarily as a result of the drive of Management towards building processes that attract efficiency gains in resource allocation throughout the Bank.

It would be recalled that Unity Bank successfully partnered CBN and RIFAN (the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria) to deliver on the long-held objective of ensuring self-sustainability in rice production in the country. The program is one of the biggest and most successful anchor-borrower programs ever embarked upon, and it has so far succeeded in engaging over 500,000 farmers, cultivating over 270 thousand hectares of land with expected yield of 2 million metric tons of rice for the wet season alone.

The Bank is now well placed to leverage on current and emerging market trends, improve service delivery and boost e-business.

Apart from the current award, Unity Bank has carted away other highly coveted awards and recognitions in recent times due to increasing market receptiveness to its growth focus. It won an Efficiency Awards in Fraud Reporting and prevention, Award of Sustainable Banking Transaction in Agriculture, Presidential Award as mover of Anchor Borrowers Programme at the 3rd anniversary of ABP, amongst others.

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BUSINESS

FCMB empowers more SME customers in Season 2 of “Race to China Promo’’

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On Tuesday, May 21, 2019 First City Monument Bank (FCMB) rewarded another set of its Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) customers in Season 2 of the Bank’s reward scheme tagged “FCMB SME Race to China Promo”. The winners emerged through rounds of electronic selection from the pool of qualified SME customers in the first draws of the promo (for the months of March and April) held in Lagos, Kano, Abia and Oyo states.

Among the winners are eight customers who each won the star prize of an all-expense paid trip to China (return flight ticket and hotel accommodation for 7 nights) to participate in the 2019 edition of the Canton Trade Fair, one of the world’s biggest import and export trade fairs, scheduled to hold later this year. In addition, several other SME customers won various exciting items. These include $500 preloaded shopping cards, business enablers (such as, power generating sets, laptops) and other consolation prizes.

At the Lagos regional draw, Eternal Fabrics Enterprises and Gold Tech Multi-Global Limited, won the star prizes for the months of March and April, respectively, while Jahved Ventures and Sapart Integrated Services Limited in Gombe State emerged winners at the Northern regional draw which took place in Kano. Similarly, Soupah Farm-En-Market Limited and Lade Olagbenro & Company were the star prize winners at the regional draws for South-west, held in Ibadan, Oyo State. Ife Progress Resources Limited and The Congregation of the Mission emerged lucky winners at the South-east/South-south regional draw held in Aba, Abia State.

Among the winners of $500 preloaded shopping cards, power generating sets and laptops are Suraj Furniture Limited, Smoothie Express Limited, Pisces OEA Multibil Limited, Goldmet Ventures, Exclusive Champion Limited, Kingdom Ideas Integrated Limited and Brands Yard Limited.

Season 2 of the ‘’FCMB SME Race to China Promo”, which commenced in May and will run till October, is an extension of the first phase held last year following the huge success and impact recorded. It is designed by FCMB to give extra value, empower and reward its Business Banking/SME customers for their patronage and loyalty over the years. The promo is targeted at business customers who operate any of the Bank’s local currency accounts. There will be a total of 6 draws which will hold monthly.

Speaking on Season 2 of the ‘’FCMB SME Race to China Promo” the Executive Director, Business Development of the Bank, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said, “this is part of our initiatives to demonstrate our commitment to the growth of SMEs, which are key drivers of economic development. The second edition of this promo has been enhanced to ensure that more customers have the opportunity to emerge as winners. From 43 winners in the first edition held last year, a total of 320 customers will win either a trip to China, $500 pre-loaded shopping cards, business enablers and other gifts that are on offer in the second edition. We will continue to create opportunities and offer the very best of products as well as services that will grow the business of our SME customers in a sustainable manner.”

In their comments, the winners commended FCMB for considering it worthy to reward and empower its SME customers. According to the Managing Director of Ife Progress Resources, Mr. Ezeike Ifechukwu, “I was in shock and at same time very happy when I was called by FCMB that I have won a trip to China. I have never been lucky, not even once in my life to win anything. So when I received a text message from FCMB telling me about the Race to China Promo, I didn’t really bother. But having won the star prize, I thank the Bank, our Bank. I am a shareholder of FCMB, a customer for more than ten years, and I maintain series of accounts. FCMB has always been my number one Bank. Today, I repledge my loyalty to FCMB. I will ensure that I drive more customers to FCMB”.

Another star prize winner of a trip to China, Mrs. Joyce Ajanah, who is the Managing Director of Gold Tech Multi-Tech Limited, said, “I am very excited, really short of words and extremely grateful to FCMB. This is definitely going to make my business grow significantly. The FCMB Race to China promo is a very good initiative. The Bank is going places”.

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Zenith Bank emerges first Nigerian Bank to repeatedly audit its carbon emissions

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L-R: Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, Executive Director, Zenith Bank Plc, Lynsey Elston, Country Manager, V4 Advisors, at the official presentation of the certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing for the 2018 Financial Year to Zenith Bank Plc by V4 Advisors, held at bank’s head office in Lagos, recently. PHOTO: Zenith Bank Plc

Zenith Bank Plc has received a certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after successful completion of its Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year.

The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

Temitope Fasoranti, the executive director, who received the certificate on behalf of the bank, said Zenith started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date.

He explained that the bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, Lynsey Elston, V4 country manager, highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their head office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”.

She commended the bank for proving its commitment to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

In response to her, the executive director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

The firm’s calculation and reporting tool have been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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Access Bank threatens to publish names of debtors in June

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The management of Access Bank has threatened to publish the list of all its delinquent debtors.

In a statement released on Thursday, the bank said it is acting in line with a directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“All Access Bank Plc (including former Diamond Bank Plc) debtors are directed to pay up their past due obligations in order to avoid punitive actions being taken against them,” the bank said.

“Please note that we shall publish our debtors’ names in newspapers in two weeks.

“Similarly, in the event that these obligations are not fulfilled, we shall take such further actions against such delinquent individuals and companies as we may consider necessary and shall relentlessly pursue full recovery of all our debts.”

Deepening its threat, the bank said it would collaborate with other banks to ensure that habitual debtors are excluded from the banking system.

“Furthermore, all debtors will be sanctioned by the CBN and banned from participating in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange and Securities Exchange Markets and registered on the Credit Risk Management Systems (CRMS) Bureau as bad debtors making them, their directors and related entities illegible for any credit in the Nigerian Financial Markets.”

Earlier in May, the bank had announced that it would pay off a $200 million Eurobond issued by Diamond Bank in 2014.

Access Bank became Nigeria’s largest bank after completing a merger process with Diamond Bank in March.

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