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Banks to Close Branches as Recession Bites Hard

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Recession bites

A number of Deposit Money Banks in the country will close many of what they described as unprofitable branches as the economic recession continues to bite harder, investigation by our correspondent has shown.

It was similarly gathered that most of the banks would lay off hundreds of workers between now and December.

The revelation came barely 24 hours after Unity Bank Plc laid off about 300 workers, more than the 220 that was mentioned last week.

Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank and Skye Bank Plc had earlier in the year sacked over 3,000 members of their workforce.

It was learnt that following the economic downturn in the country, a number of bank branches could no longer justify their existence as cost analysis had shown that the financial institutions were spending more on salaries and overheads than the income from the branches.

Some top bank executives, who confirmed the development to our correspondent under the condition of anonymity on Monday, said some lenders might be forced to relieve more workers of their duties before the end of this year.

An executive director in one of the banks that recently asked some of its workers to go said, “We have laid off some of our staff members but that it still not enough. Many branches are just existing for the sake of being there. They are not generating enough income. What they are bringing in is far less than what the bank is incurring as costs on them.

“We may have to close such branches before the year ends. I know a number of other banks that are planning something similar.”

Commenting on the development, an ex-banker and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, described branch closure as an ongoing action in the banking sector, especially in times of economic downturn.

He, however, noted that banks were required to notify the Central Bank of Nigeria before closing any branch.

“It is an ongoing administrative thing in the banking industry. Banks will want to rationalise branches, especially in a difficult economy. Banks are planning to cut costs. Branch rationalisation is normal but the CBN has to be notified,” Chukwu explained.

The banking sector has been facing a number of challenges following the downturn in economic activities.

The slowdown in the economy, which has led to a high rate of non-performing loans in the banking system, made four lenders to lose at least N17bn in profits in the first quarter of this year.

Specifically, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc recorded a combined decline of N17bn in their profits before tax for the three months ended March 31, 2016, when compared with the corresponding period of 2015, according to the results of the financial institutions posted on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

When compared with the PBT of N30.52bn, N32.65bn, N4.26bn and N7.94bn recorded by the banks in the first quarter of 2015, the combined PBT of the four banks dropped by N17bn from N75.4bn in the first quarter of last year to N58.4bn in the same period of this year.

While Ecobank’s PBT fell from N30.52bn in the first quarter of 2015 to N20.63bn in a similar period of this year, GTBank’s dropped from N32.65bn to N30.68bn. That of Unity Bank dropped from N4.26bn to N1.05bn, while Diamond Bank’s came down from N7.94bn to N6.04bn.

In terms of their profit after tax, the four banks recorded a decline of N14bn.

Banks in the country had been posting sharp increases in profits before tax and profits after tax since 2011 after the establishment of the Asset Management of Corporation of Nigeria in 2010 following the banking sector crisis in 2009.

However, consistent drop in the global prices of crude oil, Nigeria’s main foreign exchange earner, since June 2014, caused banks’ profits to start declining at the end of 2015.

Majority of the 15 banks listed on the NSE recorded declines in their full-year profits in the 2015 financial year. However, a few ones such as Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and GTBank outperformed the market despite sizeable volume of bad loans.

In the first quarter of 2016, 13 out of the 15 banks posted a combined PBT of N135.36bn, compared to N148bn in the corresponding period of last year.

Similarly, the 13 banks posted profits after tax of N116.6bn in the first quarter of 2016, compared to N126.4bn in the first quarter of 2015.

The 13 banks are Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, GTBank, FCMB Limited, Sterling Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, UBA Plc, Unity Bank, Wema Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

Skye Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank have yet to release their full-year 2015 and first-quarter 2016 financial results.

An economic analyst and Head, Investment Advisory, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, said the declining profit in the financial services sector was a reflection of the challenges facing the Nigerian economy.

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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JUST IN: Abuja to Kaduna Train Service to Resume by December 5

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

The Federal Government has announced that services along the Abuja–Kaduna rail corridor would resume on Monday, December 5, 2022.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria. 

While speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday, Okhiria noted that all is now set to open the train corridor to passengers. 

He, therefore, advised passengers wishing to utilise the service to commence updating their mobile app from December 3, to enable them to successfully book the ride. 

Investors King earlier reported that the resumption of the Abuja to Kaduna train service will commence last Monday. The resumption was however postponed due to ongoing security work on the trail track as well as coaches. 

It could be recalled that the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo stated during the test run of the train on Sunday that Nigerians without a National Identification Number would not be allowed to board the train.

The Minister added that the government is doing everything to stop a re-occurrence of the event that happened early this year when terrorists attacked Abuja to Kaduna. 

An event that led to the death of no less than nine people while several others were kidnapped. 

Speaking further on the new development, the NRC boss noted that the services will commence with two train rides from Abuja-Kaduna and vice-versa.

Given the train schedule, Okhiria stated that “AK 1 will depart Idu Station at 9:45 am and arrive at Rigasa Station at 11:53 am.

“KA 2 will depart Rigasa at 8:00am and arrive at Idu station at 10:17am.

“AK 3 will depart Idu Station at 3:30pm and arrive at Rigasa Station at 5:38pm.

He added that “KA 4 will depart Rigasa at 2pm and arrive at Idu Station at 4:07pm.

Okhiria noted that the federal government will continue to do all it can to protect both lives and properties on board its train at all times.

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Dominic Pizza Partners 9mobile on Food Service Delivery

The mother brand of Domino Pizza, Eat’N’Go Africa noted that the partnership is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to better serve the Nigerian market.

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Dominos Pizza

Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), Domino Pizza has partnered with mobile telecommunication provider, 9mobile to improve its food service delivery.

The mother brand of Domino Pizza, Eat’N’Go Africa noted that the partnership is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to better serve the Nigerian market.

According to a statement released by the company, the partnership is aimed to increase customer satisfaction and provide quick service delivery to both individuals and retail offices.

Investors King learnt that customers can now easily and swiftly order domino pizza through the newly launched dedicated call center. 

The statement added that the Call Centre service was currently active in all Domino’s branches in Lagos State, with plans underway to activate it in other locations in Nigeria and would provide multi-lingual services.

Speaking at the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Eat’N’Go Africa, Mr. Patrick McMichael noted that customers’ orders will henceforth be delivered as much faster as possible. He added that the core responsibility of the company is to attain customer satisfaction through its products and service delivery. 

“As an organization, Eat’N’Go is committed to always being at the forefront of customer satisfaction and by adapting to innovative ways we will keep improving on our service delivery which the call centre avails us,” he said. 

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 9mobile, Juergen Peschel who was present at the event expressed delight and confidence in the prospect of the new partnership. 

He noted that with the new partnership, Eat’N’Go will be able to revolutionise delivery. 

The CEO affirmed that the collaboration shows the extent to which technology can be deployed to ease the way business is done.

Meanwhile, Eat’N’Go Africa is the mother company of a number of trademark products which include Domino Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, and Pinkberry Gourmet Frozen Yoghurt brands. It is one of the leading Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) in Nigeria. 

The company currently has more than 190 outlets across the country with the goal to reach 250 outlets in 2023. 

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Aero Contractors to Resume Operations After Four Months of Suspension

Aero Contractors called off suspension, to resume operations in the first week of December

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Aero Contractors Airlines

Aero Contractors has disclosed plans to resume flight operations on the 5th of December 2022. The resumption is coming after more than four months of suspension owing to a lack of equipment capacity, foreign exchange scarcity, and other industry challenges.

Investors King could recall that in July 2022, Aero Contractors which is one of the oldest domestic airlines operating in Nigeria announced a voluntary withdrawal of service due to the numerous challenges facing the airline and the industry in general. 

“Due to the impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily operations, the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nig. Ltd. wishes to announce the temporary suspension of its scheduled passenger service operations with effect from Wednesday, July 20, 2022,” a statement issued by the airline in July partly read. 

The airline added that some of its aircraft were undergoing maintenance which made it a more complex situation to cope with the current reality in the aviation industry.

It highlights the high cost of maintenance, fuel, inflation, and forex scarcity resulting in high foreign exchange rates as some of the prevailing challenges which culminated in the suspension of service.

According to sources that are familiar with the new development, flight operations will resume with the Lagos to Abuja route while a check on the airline website showcases a confirmation. 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cleared Aero Contractors to resume flight operations. 

The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu confirms the resumption during a discussion he had with journalists earlier today. 

The DG clarified that the airline was not grounded and that it never had safety issues. Rather, he said the airline was faced with financial challenges which, if not quickly nipped in the bud, may degenerate into safety issues.

“Aero Contractors was not grounded based on safety issues. We did an audit of them…and we found out that the issue they had was financial sustainability,” Capt Nuhu noted.

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