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Fitch Affirms 8 Nigerian Banks’ Ratings

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Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings Friday affirmed the national ratings of eight Nigerian banks. The banks are First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Union Bank , Stanbic IBTC Bank, the Bank of Industry (BOI) as well as Stanbic IBTC Holdings (SIBTCH).

A statement from the international agency explained that the rating actions followed Fitch’s downgrade of Nigeria’s Long-Term Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘, as a result of which it now equalised with the long-term foreign currency IDR.

It further explained that its latest action was driven by the change in Fitch’s sovereign rating criteria.

“Following the sovereign criteria change and rating action, Fitch has recalibrated the National Rating scale for Nigeria. As a result the national ratings for the aforementioned banks were affirmed as there is no change in their relative creditworthiness,” it stated.

According to the agency, the national rating of UBA was based its standalone creditworthiness and was also underpinned by potential sovereign support.

Also, the national ratings of FBN, Fidelity, Diamond, FCMB and UBN were based on potential sovereign support given their systemic importance, just as the national ratings of Stanbic and SIBTCH were based on the probability of support from their parent, Standard Bank Group Limited (SBG; BBB-/Stable).

SBG has a majority 53.2 per cent stake in SIBTCH, which in turn owns 100% of Stanbic IBTC.

“Fitch believes that SBG’s support would extend equally to both the bank and the holding company. The national ratings of BOI are driven by potential sovereign support reflecting its 99.9 per cent state ownership, its policy role and the bank’s strategic importance to Nigeria’s economic and industrial development.

“The banks’ (apart from UBA, SIBTC and SIBTCH) national ratings are sensitive to a weakening ability of the Nigerian sovereign to provide support. UBA’s National Ratings are sensitive to both a weakening in sovereign support as well as any change in its standalone credit worthiness”, it said.

“The national ratings of SIBTC and SIBTCH are sensitive to a change in potential support (relating to both ability and propensity) from their ultimate parent, SBG. The national ratings of SIBTCH and SIBTC could withstand a three-notch downgrade of SBG’s long-term IDR,” it added.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Finance

MTN Nigeria’s MoMo Formally Commences Operation

MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank operations, today, 19th May, 2022

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MTN

MTN Nigeria’s subsidiary company, MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank (PSB) operations, today, 19th May, 2022.

This comes after a successful trial that began on May 16, 2022, to commemorate the start of MTN’s GSM operations on May 16, 2001, and MTN’s listing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.

Investors King had reported the CBN’s approval of this process some months back stating; “This is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN. The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.

“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and continues to explore means whereby it can contribute to its fulfillment…”

MoMo PSB is determined to enable millions of Nigerians to access a broad range of financial service products. With an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitized partnership infrastructure, MoMo PSB will continue to expand its agent network in order to serve Nigerians across the country and eliminate friction from routine transactions by digitizing cash payments.

Customers can open a MoMo wallet, send money to any phone number in the country, and pay their bills by dialing *671# from any network.

Furthermore, MoMo wallets will allow Nigerians in the Diaspora to send money to any phone number in the country in the future, a crucial feature considering Nigeria’s position as the top recipient of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are grateful to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their support and guidance through the process,” said Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria. “This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government’s drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Not just for those in urban centers and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system,” he added.

MoMo PSB CEO, Usoro Usoro said: “Providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians is essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and the digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. We look forward to playing our part and are excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.”

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Banking Sector

CBN Issues Directive For Open Banking to Improve Financial Services

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Central Bank

In an effort to stimulate innovation and widen the range of financial products and services available to banks’ customers, the apex regulatory bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has established the legal framework for Open Banking in Nigeria.

This was revealed in a circular titled ‘Operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria’ which was obtained by Investors King.

The Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, according to the CBN, establishes standards for data sharing across the banking and payments systems in order to stimulate innovation and expand the range of financial products and services available to bank customers.

According to the CBN, the financial sector data guideline would allow clients to access innovative financial products and services.

The Apex bank said: “Open banking recognises the ownership and control of data by customers of financial and non-financial services, and their right to grant authorisations to service providers to access innovative financial products and services. This is anticipated to drive competition and improve access to banking and payments services”.

The CBN also added that participants in open banking shall adhere strictly to security standards when accessing and storing data, and shall be subject to minimum privacy standards, operational standards, risk management standards and customer experience standards as prescribed by the Bank.

According to the CBN, any organization with customer data that may be transferred with other businesses in order to deliver innovative financial services within Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Open Banking ecosystem.

Open banking is a banking practice in which banks and non-bank financial organizations provide third-party financial service providers open access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data via application programming interfaces (APIs).

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Finance

Partnerships for Financial Education

Education, specifically financial education, is a critical tool to enable both individuals and communities to prosper

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Manlan Carl

By Carl Manlan, Vice President, Social Impact, Visa CEMEA 

In April 2022, a media company leveraged key partners to make on-demand mobile-based learning accessible to millions of young Africans. The model bets on the success of the entertainment platform to attract young people to take an extra step in strengthening their entrepreneurial skills. This highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships in ensuring access to skills and educational messages for Africa’s youth. Moreover, the critical importance of experience-based learning and platforms in advancing socio-economic transformation.

Over the years in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, we have learnt about the effectiveness of purpose-led partnerships. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic provided us with a sense of urgency in supporting individuals and households to take full advantage of the digital economy. The continent’s response to health emergencies suggest that we have the tools to push forward in creating a more inclusive society particularly in the areas of education and capacity development.

Education, specifically financial education, is a critical tool to enable both individuals and communities to prosper. Entrepreneurship holds some of the answers in alleviating unemployment in Africa, but it needs to come with the right set of skills and opportunities. Trace Academia, has taken the lead in bringing partners to offer a range of skills to millions of young Africans through their media platform. This rich content has re-imagined Visa’s Practical Business Skills to allow young people to learn lifelong transferable skills.

Leveraging the power of technology, both platforms have been able to bring relevant financial education content that changes the way the youth interact with entrepreneurial concepts. Skills development is one step in the right direction as we continue to collaborate with others to create opportunities for young people. The real impact is in the continuous application of these skills, which will help us navigate some of the challenges that affect youth and employment on the continent.

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated preference for digital commerce and highlighted the opportunity of key stakeholders to come together to collaborate at the intersection of commerce and skills. Research shows 80 million young people will benefit from the rise of digital commerce in Africa by 2030 but this can only be enabled by access to adequate skills and relevant platforms.

Financial education starts at home and the role of parents and guardians cannot be over emphasized. Practical Money Skills is an online resource which provides content for children and youth grades K to 12. The end in mind is the ability to take control of your finances as an individual or as a household. As such, the fundamental habit of careful management of available resources at home builds the framework for financial education and financial consumer protection which ultimately leads to more communities being included in the financial system. As in the health sector, behaviour change communication and prevention are key factors in curbing the spread of a disease. In our case, financial education and protection are key tenants in spreading expertise and leveraging skills required for individuals to sustain their livelihoods and for entrepreneurs to expand their trade from local to global value chains.

Access to healthcare and financial education may, at first, be unrelated but the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the current economic system when skills are lacking. There is evidence suggesting that debt and financial concerns have a serious impact on mental health

Partnerships for Financial Education

. As such, people living in financial hardship are at increased risk of mental health problems and poorer mental wellbeing. Financial wellness is important for individuals and communities to continue to make a sustainable contribution to the continent.

Most critical diseases affecting the continent over the past half-century have been managed through partnerships. Today, more than ever, we can take a cue from the health sector to make financial education accessible to all, it is a life skill that should be valued.

 

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