The management of SunTrust Bank Limited, one of the recently licensed commercial banks in the country officially opened its doors to customers Monday. The bank has a regional banking licence.
Speaking at the opening ceremony which attracted top government officials, politicians as well as traditional rulers in Lagos yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Muhammad Jibrin, said the bank was the first fresh banking licence to be issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2001.
Jibrin said SunTrust Bank started about six years ago as a mortgage bank, adding that the board and management were able to grow its balance to a reasonable size before they decided to pursue a commercial banking licence from the CBN which they got in September last year.
He said the bank would be a financial technology institution that would focus electronic channels by offering telephone, mobile and internet banking services.
“Banking is no longer where you go, it is what people do. Therefore, the only thing that can stand the future is no longer physical branches, but banking services that would be driven by technology. “So, most customers of tomorrow would no longer be the customers that they want to go to the banking hall. So, you need to be able to position the institution to respond positively to the needs and expectations of customers of tomorrow. That is at the heart of our own vision and strategy as tomorrow’s bank today,” Jibrin said.
In his presentation, the Chairman of the bank, Mr. Charles Onyema Ugboko, said establishing a bank amid the present economic situation showed that the board and management are committed to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
In his goodwill message, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, urged the management of the bank to remain focused, even as he appealed to them to employ at least 30 per cent of Lagos indigenes.
Also, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, pointed out that going into business at this time when “everybody else is trying to get out of business, takes a lot of courage, and to go particularly into banking takes triple courage.
“But such occasion throws up opportunities to those who can see far and beyond. It is the courage of the founders of this bank that I want to applaud. If you are just coming in to be another bank, then it is not worth coming in.
“So, you have to come in as a bank with a difference. You must change the game. Service and quality should be your focus. I personally believe that the cost level of banks is very high, so if you can bring your own down, you will win,” the traditional ruler said.
On his part, the Lagos branch controller of CBN, Mr. J. Iyari, who represented the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, urged the board and management of the bank to keep to the rules and be good corporate citizen.
“The bank should try to create market niche, be special and be the bank of choice. I assure you that the CBN will continue to provide a level playing field for all operators in the financial services industry to support the growth and development of our country,” he said.
Also, the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who was at the ceremony, commended the bank for taking such as abold step.
“As we speak here today, it might be easy for us to be overwhelmed by many challenges we face as business people. The lack of growth in the major economies of the world, the declining commodity prices in general, the weakness in our economy and the difficulty faced by the banking sector all over the world.”
“But throughout my business life, I have learnt that problems and difficulties are also great opportunities. People can make quite a lot out of difficulties and I think our difficulties in Nigeria today should be turned to opportunities. In this period, you need the courage to attack when others are retreating.
“As you know, in Lagos, we have many projects that we are doing and we are not retreating. We have continued to invest in this downturn, with expectation that our investment would actually pay a handsome reward as the cycle turns. I congratulate you for taking this step when banks all over the world are facing multiple headwinds. I am excited that their courage would be rewarded in the near future,” Dangote added.
Nigeria Receives £4.2 Million Looted By James Ibori
The government of the United Kingdom has repatriated the sum of £4.2million that was looted by associates and family members of the convicted former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Tuesday confirmed the receipt of the looted fund in a statement he made available to newsmen in Abuja.
In the statement signed by Malami Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the Minister of Justice disclosed that the naira equivalent of the amount was credited into the designated Federal Government account on May 10, 2021.
The AGF had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the loot fund on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
According to him, “the development was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public oriented projects”.
AfDB, European Bank To Bridge $2.5tn Africa’s Financing Gap
The African Development Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to promote sustainable private sector development in Africa.
In a statement issued by its Communication and External Relations Department, the AfDB said, “The MoU will help catalyse new sources of financing to help bridge the $2.5tn annual financing gap for development in Africa.
“This gap requires that development finance institutions work in partnership.”
The bank stated that under this partnership, the AfDB and the EBRD would capitalise on their respective
expertise and experience, with a particular focus on climate change, green and resilient infrastructure and capital markets development.
“They will also work on improving business environments, bolstering the real economy and mobilising private sector investment,” the AfDB stated.
It observed that COVID-19 was threatening progress made towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and was exacerbating the debt vulnerability of many African countries.
The bank stated that sustainable private sector development would be key to recovery and prosperity across the continent.
AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, after signing the memorandum with his counterpart, EBRD President,
Odile Renaud-Basso, was quoted as saying, “The new partnership agreement between our two institutions will pave the way for us to do more together, especially in supporting the growth of Africa’s private sector.
“The impact of COVID-19 on government resources is huge and we need to mobilise more private resources to help African countries build back stronger.”
On his part, Renaud-Basso, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has made the need for better and ever closer collective action even more urgent.
“Collaboration between the EBRD and the African Development Bank has grown from strength to strength over the years in the region.”
Despite Rising Debt Profile, President Buhari Seeks New N2.342T External Loan
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, urged the Senate to approve a new external loan of N2,343,387,942,848.00, about $6.183billion, for the Federal Government to finance the 2021 budget deficit.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan read Buhari’s letter of request on the floor of the Senate at plenary.
Last Month, Investorsking recalled that there was a controversy when Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki had raised concerns over the financial trouble Nigeria might find herself due to the continuous rising debt profile.
In a recent report carried out by PWC, it was reported that:
“Actual debt servicing cost in 2020 stood at N3.27 trillion and represented about 10 percent over the budgeted amount of N2.95 trillion. This puts the debt-to-revenue ratio at approximately 83 percent, nearly double the 46 percent that was budgeted.
“This implies that about N83 out of every N100 the FG earned was used to settle interest payments for outstanding domestic and foreign debts within the reference period. In 2021, the FG plans to spend N3.32 trillion to service its outstanding debt. This is slightly higher than the N2.95 trillion budgeted in 2020”.
According to DMO Nigeria’s total public debt as at December 31, 2020, was N32.915 Trillion.
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