The Chief Executive Officer, SunTrust Bank Limited, the latest commercial bank licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammed Jubrin, says the lender is planning to attract over 100 million unbanked Nigerians into the banking sector, using technology.
He said this would go a long way in deepening the financial sector and achieving the CBN’s goal of encouraging savings culture among the populace.
In a statement on Sunday, Jubrin was quoted as saying, “It is unfortunate that we have just about 30 million Nigerians within the banking sector, as captured by the Bank Verification Number project; this is alarming when we consider the number of Nigerians that should have bank accounts.
“We are determined to use technology to attract more Nigerians into the banking sector. We are very positive that this is possible and with the success in the telecommunication sector, we are sure, that our mobile banking applications will entice millions of able Nigerians into the sector.”
Jubrin said the success story in the telecommunications sector was enough to give the management of the new bank hope that their aim of banking millions of unbanked Nigerians using technology was achievable.
He promised that the bank would bring banking to customers’ home.
“We will be everywhere but we will be nowhere…We will offer telephone, mobile and Internet banking underpinned by the traditional banking ethics of probity and integrity,” the CEO added.
“The bank’s competitive edge will be the strong reliance on technology and it will be encouraging customers to access its services from the comfort of their homes and offices and as such the bank will not be engaging in a proliferation of branches.”
The SunTrust MD explained, “Our services will be available to our customers 24 hours daily, seven days a week and from anywhere in the world where there is a good Internet service.
“Even our data centre is outsourced, this way we will not have the overbearing requirement to put on the generator at our locations.”
According to the CEO, “we will not be emphasising physical security as we are making serious investment in cyber security instead.”
On the focus and strategy of the bank, the CEO said, “Over 90 per cent of banking transaction are being transacted electronically worldwide.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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