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WAUG: Heritage Bank restates commitment to youth, sport devt

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L-R: Vice Chancellor (VC) of UNIPORT, Prof Ndowa Lale; Deputy Vice-Chancellor/LOC Chairman, Prof. Regina Ogali and representative of MD/CEO, Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo; Senior Manager, Oladapo Lawal, at 14th edition of the West African Universities Game (WAUG) held in Port Harcourt at the University of Port Harcourt, sponsored by Heritage Bank.

Heritage Bank Plc has restated commitment to improved youth and sport developments in the country, thereby attaining rapid growth in these areas, through sponsorship of sporting activities in tertiary institutions.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo affirmed this at the just concluded 14th edition of the West African Universities Game (WAUG) held in Port Harcourt at the University of Port Harcourt.

The bank recently supported the premier edition of Africa Freestyle Football Championship and continued to sponsor youth entrepreneurial initiatives, particularly, The Next Titan,” a reality television show.

Sekibo, who was represented by a Senior Manager, Oladapo Lawal stressed that the financial institution has strong desire to see young Nigerians succeed in other areas other than what they studied in school, whilst urging government at all levels and private institutions to pay closer attention to sponsorship and innovation.

He stated that Heritage Bank, as the sponsor of WAUG, is working assiduously towards achieving its vision to become a bank of national reckoning for which it was established.

He noted that there is need for institutions to give back to society through sponsorship.

“Heritage Bank believes in development. These are University Students and we want to level our legacy on University students that is one of reasons we decided to sponsor the event. We have the tenacity to develop and sport is a way of developing youths in the country. We want to encourage the youth and I believe that this type of  games are capable of robbing off on the students in future.

“I would advise the federal government to look in this direction, because when we support this kind of project, we are developing our country. The government needs to do more in sponsorship drive of sports in the country, “he noted.

Meanwhile, UNIPORT emerged the overall winner of the 14th WAUG, 2018 amassing 125 medals to top the log.

A breakdown of the figures shows  that UNIPORT won 75 gold, 26 silver and 24 bronze medals to beat University of Lagos (UNILAG), the first runners up that scored 16 gold, 24 silver and 16 bronze. The second Runners up was University of Cape Coast, Ghana that bagged 9 gold and 16 silver medals.

The football event went to University for  Development Studies, Ghana that beat Bayero University,Kano(BUK) 4-2 on penalties after the duo played out a  1-1 draw within  90 minutes regulation time and 30 minutes extra time.

Declaring the competition closed, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu congratulated the winners and indeed all the participants for a job well done.

He commended UNIPORT for organizing what he described as one of the best championships in the history of WAUG.

The Minister said university games and sports generally should be encouraged in our institutions to build  friendships and bridge barriers among the students in Nigeria and beyond.

He promised that the Federal Government will continue to encourage sports in our schools.

In his speech, the Vice Chancellor(VC) of UNIPORT, Prof Ndowa Lale commended Heritage Bank for its sponsorship to the successful competition. He congratulated he winners and the losers alike. The VC  particularly commended University of Cape Coast for coming all the way from Ghana  to lift  the football trophy regarded as the king of sports.

Prof Lale who said the hosting of the games was not perfect, expressed confidence that subsequent editions will be better.

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BUSINESS

Keystone Bank’s Obeahon Ohiwerei – The turnaround strategist

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Keystone Bank Limited GMD/CEO, Dr. Obeahon Ohiwerei

By: Ezra Adeniyi

The story of corporate revolutions in Nigeria will not be complete without direct reference to Keystone Bank Limited and its Group Managing Director/CEO, Dr. Obeahon Ohiwerei. This is a man who has used his Midas touch to turn things around for the financial institution within a significantly short space of time.

Dr. Ohiwerei is a rare breed. We are familiar with individuals who take over bourgeoning establishments and further increase their worth on face value along the line. But it sounds like a fairy tale to have a professional who takes over a near-comatose organization and almost makes a corporate giant out of it. This has been the lot of Keystone Bank.

In just a little over one year after the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON’s divestment which saw the emergence of Dr. Ohiwerei as its Managing Director cum Chief Executive Officer, Keystone Bank’s narrative changed to a financial institution to reckon with.

On March 24, 2017, Sigma Golf-Riverbank Consortium took over Keystone Bank in its distressed state, which led to the appointment of Dr. Ohiwerei. On assumption of office in August 2017, Ohiwerei drew up a holistic and integrated approach to business modernization which elevated the bank to deliver a superior customer-centric experience.  The impact of this change reflected positive results in its 2018 report card, which restored customers’ trust  and confidence in the system.

Dr. Ohiwerei’s magic wand at Keystone Bank has taken industry watchers by surprise, and the industry itself by storm. Since becoming the Managing Director of the lender, the game-changer has spearheaded several growth initiatives which have placed the bank on upward trajectory.

The Bank has invested significantly in technology with copiously integrated service models enabling customers enjoy banking services through a wide range of channels.

From evolving technologies to changing customer expectations to new regulatory demands – it has never been more important for banks to come up with the right strategies for digital transformation and innovation; the bolstered Ohiwerei led team nonetheless made this a reality at Keystone Bank. This entailed initiating partnership processes with foremost technology-enabled concerns to drive its digital revolution.

Keystone Bank’s ‘Cheque Deposit’ feature in its state of the art mobile banking application, ‘Keystone Mobile App’, further describes Ohiwerei’s vision to position Keystone Bank as a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers. The feature which is again the first in the  Nigerian banking sector, enables customers to deposit cheques into accounts from anywhere and at any time on their mobile phones.

Undoubtedly, Ohiwerei’s achievements at Keystone Bank have not gone unnoticed. Accolades have streamed in from all spheres in praise of a man who has done what many people only dream of.

He clinched the Best Banking CEO Award 2018 at the prestigious European Global Banking & Finance Awards in London in July 2018 for his exceptional achievements over the last year. This is an inspiration for business and government leaders working to raise Africa’s investment profile. The judging panel of the award considered excellent leadership skills, enhanced organizational image and innovation. Keystone Bank also emerged ‘Africa’s Most Innovative Bank of the Year, 2018’ at the awards event.

The bank also shone brightly at the International Banker Awards, 2018 as it emerged winner in two categories beating other nominees and carting away the prize for “Africa’s Best Customer Service Provider” and “Nigeria’s Most Innovative Retail Bank of the year, 2018”. The International Banker Awards is an annual event organized by the renowned International Banker financial magazine, one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative analysis on finance, international banking, and world affairs.

Obeahon Ohiwerei began his professional banking career with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 1991, and his exceptional performance saw him rise to the position of manager within six years. He later joined Standard Trust Bank (now UBA Plc) where he was appointed the Pioneer Group Head, Consumer Banking in 1998. He resigned in 2002 as General Manager in charge of Lagos and West to join Pacific Bank Limited (then on Central Bank of Nigeria’s holding action) as Managing Director. He repositioned the bank with his new team within 15 months and moved on to take up a new appointment as the pioneer Managing Director of Standard Trust Bank Ghana (now UBA Ghana).

He was  Group Executive Director with Access Bank Plc for seven years, and a director in three of Access Bank’s offshore subsidiaries as well as FITC, Lagos.

Not resting on his oars, the seasoned banker in a recent interview said he would love to leave with a sense of satisfaction that he delivered on the mandate of the investors by making Keystone a Tier-1 bank.

Dr Ohiwerei who describes himself as being audacious to a fault says  I challenge my colleagues to pursue audacious goals believing they can achieve them. There is no limit to what you can achieve as long as you believe in yourself and drive your vision strategically. Personally, I set goals for myself every five years and often achieve them within three years.

“While I do not micro-manage people, I am by nature excited by the challenge of execution and that makes it easy for me to engage hands-on with them in working through any challenges that may arise along the way,”

“I want to leave behind a tested and proven team of passionate and highly motivated people that refuse to see any barriers to what they can achieve; people that are able to compete shoulder-to-shoulder/head to head with any leading bank in the industry.

“At the end of my tenure, the recurrent customer feedback should be ‘my bankers are highly professional solution providers, responsive and always within reach.’” He concluded.

As Dale Carnegie puts it, “You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing,” Dr. Ohiwerei’s bold innovations at Keystone Bank are borne out of his passion to succeed in his every endeavor.

 

– Adeniyi, a financial analyst, wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

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Again, Ecobank Manager steals customers N411m

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Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday ordered the remand of Ifeanyi Chukwu Azike, a manager with the Ecobank Plc, for allegedly defrauded the bank’s customers to the tune of N411 million.

The defendant was arraigned before Justice Ayotunde Faji, by the men of Zone 2, of Nigeria Police Command, Onikan, Lagos, on a three count-charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, false representation and fraud.

The police in the charge marked FHC/L/56c/2019, alleged that the  Ecobank manager between in 2016 and 2017, fraudulently obtained the sum of about N150 million from one Mr. Okafor Ikenna Kelvin a customer with Account number 0533010936, under the false pretence of buying him Federal Government Treasury Bill in his Bank.

He was also alleged to forged the bank customer’s Signature, Picture, Letter of Instruction to which he used in opening another parallel account as Ikenna Okafor Kelvin with account number: 5333063028.

The police also alleged that the bank manager without the consent of the bank, fraudulently converted the sum of N411 million belonging to the bank to his personal use.

The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Daniel Apochi, are contrary to Section 1 (1) (a), 15(1)(2) and 15(2)of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud related Offence Act No. 14 of 2006, and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

The offence is also contrary to and punishable under section 1(2)(2) of the miscellaneous Act. Cap. M17, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Following his plea of not guilty, the prosecutor urges the court to remand him prison custody pending trial.

Justice Faji ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody, while adjourned till March 8, for trial.

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FirstBank partners Azuri Technologies to expand access to solar power

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, last Thursday signed a partnership with the Azuri Technologies to provide solar energy solution for the low-income areas.

The Deputy Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, said in Lagos that the partnership was aimed at proffering solutions to one of the major challenges facing the country today.

Shobo, represented by Tunde Owolabi, the Bank’s Group Executive, Retail Banking Group, Lagos & West, said that the focus is delivering power to millions of Nigerians; while at the same time enabling access to financial services in rural and low-income areas.

According to him, financial inclusion is a priority to FirstBank. “This is why we are excited about this partnership; because our customers will be able to access a wide range of services that address the real problem of access to power.

”This partnership with Azuri Technologies is one out of several of FirstBank’s partnerships. We have a track record of partnering with individuals and institutions to help meet the needs of our customers (children, women, youth, SMEs) and promote sustainable development in our host communities. Our partnerships cut across the Arts, Sports, Education, Health, among others; FirstBank has been at the forefront in ensuring ease of banking and convenience for its customers.

”Our Agent Banking Network (Firstmonie Agent) and digital banking offerings like Chat Banking on Whatsapp, FirstMobile app, Firstonline, and USSD banking, are some of the channels we have put in place to make this happen. We are therefore, very excited about the FirstBank-Azuri partnership and the positive boost it aims to bring to the nation’s economy through inclusive services.”

”Indeed, this is part of FirstBank’s 125 year-long passion for partnerships that are woven into the fabric of society,” he said.

Also, Mr Simon Bransfield-Garth, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Azuri Technologies, said that the company “is a leader in pay-as-you-go solar technology”.

Bransfield-Garth said: “Azuri brings affordable, modern consumer goods and services to the millions in sub-Saharan Africa without access to conventional power.

”Of the one billion people who lack access to electricity around the world, over 600 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Pay-as-you-go solar power is connecting off-grid households to the modern digital world. From home lighting to satellite TV, Azuri-designed solutions deliver world class performance at an affordable price for customers who live away from mains power.”

”Azuri’s vision is to create a level playing field where all consumers can access and benefit from the digital economy, wherever they live” he concluded.

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