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Heritage Bank is Not Distressed, Says CBN

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  • Heritage Bank is Not Distressed, Says CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday dismissed reports that Heritage Bank was in distress and unable to discharge its obligations to depositors.

The apex bank said in a statement issued by its Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, that Heritage Bank was not in distress.

The CBN called on depositors of Heritage Bank to disregard the reports and continue doing business with the lender.

The statement read in part, “The attention of the CBN has been drawn to false and malicious stories on the social media insinuating that Heritage Bank is under financial distress and therefore unable to discharge its obligations to its depositors.

“We wish to state that Heritage Bank is not in distress and, as such, its depositors should go about their transactions without fear. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to further state that no Nigerian bank is in distress.

“The CBN, as the industry regulator, has a duty to depositors, in particular, and the economy in general, to ensure the soundness of all financial institutions.

“We, therefore, wish to assure all depositors of the safety of their deposits.”

The apex bank also said that it would continue to ensure the soundness and safety of the Nigerian financial system.

Okoroafor added, “The CBN also wishes to state that it will remain alive to its responsibility of ensuring banking system stability and soundness through constant monitoring and supervision of all licensed institutions.

“The CBN wishes to reiterate that the banking system remains resilient enough to weather the current economic storm.”

In a related development, Heritage Bank on Tuesday night refuted the claims of its inability to meet its obligations to customers.

The bank said while it acknowledged the challenging operating environment currently being experienced in all sectors of the economy, it remained financially stable and had continued to discharge its obligations to all customers and stakeholders.

Heritage Bank’s statement read in part, “This position is buttressed by the commendable results posted by the bank in the past financial year and the last three quarters of 2016, resulting in shareholders’ approvals to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange within one year of its business combination with the erstwhile Enterprise Bank Limited.

“The bank wishes to assure all customers and stakeholders of the safety of their deposits and financial transactions in line with our commitment to a strong service culture and sound corporate governance practice.”

An online media outfit, Saharareporters, had on Monday reported that Heritage Bank was currently stuck in a debilitating liquidity situation.

It quoted sources as saying that the bank was unable to meet customers’ immediate withdrawal requests and had wiped out all foreign currency domiciliary accounts through physical theft of cash by the bank’s directors.

It was further reported that First Bank Nigeria Limited, which handles Heritage Bank’s universal clearing activities, had threatened to blacklist the lender and stop further clearing transactions if its outstanding deficit of over N5bn was not cleared.

According to Saharareporters, out of about 500 Automated Teller Machines of the bank in the Lagos metropolis, only 138 were dispensing cash, adding that the bank lacked the money to feed the other machines.

It reported that the bank’s situation was further worsened by boardroom intrigues, tribal politics and ownership tussle.

The report claimed that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had ensured that these misdemeanours were kept hidden due to political pressure by the owners of the bank, and because the apex bank did not want to give the appearance of further distress in the banking sector following the recent crisis at Skye Bank.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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2021 NCOY: FirstBank Partners Junior Achievement Nigeria, Reiterates Commitment to Innovation and Education

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For 11 years, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) to host its annual flagship event; the National Company of the Year competition (NCOY), which convenes winners of the JA Company Regional Competitions across Nigeria to compete for the National Company of the Year Award.

This year, the event will bring together outstanding ‘student business teams’ across Nigeria to compete for prizes and an opportunity to represent the country at the national competition – JA African Company of the Year Competition (ACOY). The 2021 edition of the NCOY competition will be held virtually via Zoom meetings at 10am on Saturday, 27th November 2021.  Interested participants are to register via the link https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtd-qvqz4pE90NXOHcy-tve6aEXpY_yYAE

The competition themed ‘Innovation with Grit’ will have 12 teams from 12 schools pitch their innovations to a team of 5 guests judges. The represented schools at the competition include: The Seer company from Alvana High School; Sonic Informatics company from Heritage Global Academy; Nexus Queens company from Queens School; JA Stars from Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN); Amazing Amazon Students from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Abaji; KereTerra Company from Secondary School Etoi, Uyo and The Exploit thinkers from Taidob College.

Other teams competing include: Mystic Global Company from Rosa Mystica High School, Agulu;  PetraMech Tech from Petra Schools; The Amazing Inventors from Government Secondary School Tudun Wada; Blue crystal company from Methodist Girls school and the Artisans from Igbobi College.

Judges at the event include: Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking Lagos & West First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Chidimma Juliana Okparah, Project Management Consultant (PMIEF); Sheila Ojei, Head of Communications Jobberman;  Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and Simbo Olatoregun, Policy Programs Manager for Facebook in Africa. In attendance also is the Honourable Commissioner for Education Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo as a Special Guest.

The 2021 National Company of the Year Program will also feature SPARK Competition. SPARK as an initiative of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is an acronym for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. SPARK reiterates the Bank’s commitment to institutionalise kindness in Nigeria by encouraging and amplifying a culture of kindness.

The SPARK competition will feature 15 finalist schools across Nigeria, whose CSR projects align with the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability pillars of Education, Welfare and Health, Financial inclusion and Responsible Lending and Procurement.

Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “FirstBank’s partnership under its Future First initiative with JA Nigeria Company programme has positively impacted over 100,000 people in different locations across the country in preparing and teaching them how to generate wealth, effectively manage it and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Our commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development amongst youths is mainly the driving force behind our support of the National Company of the Year (NCOY) and Africa Company of the Year (ACOY) competitions in past 11 years”.

According to the Executive Director, JAN, ‘’the National Company of the Year Company competition provides our students with a platform to show how innovative they are while displaying their dexterity and grit especially as it relates to creating sustainable business solutions to problems in their immediate community. The students have learned critical skills during the implementation of the Company Programme and we are proud to celebrate them as they compete in the National competition. I would like to specially appreciate FirstBank Nigeria for their continued support and belief in the boundless potential of young Nigerians’’.

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European Investment Bank Strengthens Engagement in Africa

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On his first official visit to Africa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer and Vice President Thomas Östros today formally opened the EIB’s new Nairobi Hub with Kenyan Finance Minister, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Kanacho Yatani.

Ahead of the launch of the EIB’s strengthened presence in Africa President Hoyer joined the CEO’s of Co-Operative Bank, Trade and Development Bank and International Housing Solutions to announce EUR 400 million of transformational new financing to help the Kenyan private sector recover from COVID, strengthen investment in fragile regions across East Africa and construct affordable and energy efficient housing.

“At the European Investment Bank we are committed to enhancing the impact of our sustainable investment around the world in close cooperation with our global partners and through an increased local presence of our technical, environmental and financing experts. The EIB’s new Nairobi Hub opened today marks a milestone in the EU Bank’s engagement in Kenya and builds on our 56 years of operations in Africa. In the coming weeks the EIB will launch a dedicated development branch that will further intensify the EIB’s contribution to addressing global and local investment challenges.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

“The EIB’s new Nairobi Hub will open a new chapter for the bank’s cooperation with Kenyan, African, Team Europe and global partners. It will allow the EIB to better respond to private and public investment priorities and build on best-practice engagement with project partners. It is a pleasure to be in Nairobi for the first high-level EIB visit to Africa since the pandemic and join political, business, banking and civil society stakeholders for today’s formal launch.” said Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President.

The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Henriette Geiger, noted: “We are honoured that the EIB has chosen Nairobi as the location for its regional hub. This is a testament to the growing importance of Nairobi as gateway to the East Africa region, and Kenya as a strategic partner to the European Union, through which we are engaging in different spheres, including trade and investment.”

The EIB Nairobi Hub was formally launched in Kenya in the presence of government, business and banking leaders, civil society and African and European diplomats.

Strengthening the impact of EIB engagement in Africa

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and the new Nairobi Hub will further enhance the impact of EIB technical and financial support for high-impact investment across East Africa. This will build on the EIB’s engagement in Kenya since the start of operations in 1976 and opening of the EIB’s East Africa representation in 2005.

In the coming months new Nairobi Hub will expand and increase its expertise on climate action, innovation and digital investment, in close cooperation with East Africa based partners.

In September the European Investment Bank’s shareholders, the 27 EU member states approved plans to strengthen its global development engagement and the EIB will launch a dedicated development branch in the beginning of 2022.

EUR 400 million new EIB support for business impacted by COVID, fragile regions and housing

Ahead of the formal opening the EIB confirmed new support for transformational investment across East Africa.

This includes backing EUR 50 million of new investment by Kenyan private sector firms in sectors most challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic in a new business financing scheme in partnership with Co-Operative Bank.

The EIB also agreed its first ever targeted support to unlock investment in fragile regions and overcome challenges linked to climate change, poverty and instability. The new EUR 163 million initiative with the COMESA Trade and Development Bank will finance projects across East and Southern Africa.

Construction of thousands of more affordable and energy efficient homes in Kenya will be accelerated in a EUR 180 million programme with African partner International Housing Solutions.

Building on EIB engagement with African financial partners

Last year the EIB provided more than EUR 5 billion of new financing to support more than EUR 12 billion of transformational private and public investment across Africa.

This includes launching new targeted financial initiatives in collaboration with African banks and financial institutions to help business recover from COVID-19 challenges, accelerate climate finance, improve access to finance by female-led business and enhance financing for rural small holders.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

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EIB, Cooperative Bank of Kenya to Support Kenyan Companies Most Affected by Covid With EUR 50 Million 

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New investment by companies active in sectors most challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic will be accelerated by a new EUR 50 million targeted financing initiative launched in Nairobi today by the European Investment Bank and the Cooperative Bank of Kenya. The new business financing programme will also be supported by European Union grants.

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank and Dr. Gideon Muriuki, Group Managing Director and CEO of The Co-Operative Bank of Kenya highlighted how closer cooperation between Kenyan and African financial partners will unlock crucial access to finance by firms impacted the economic, trade and health impact of the global pandemic.

“COVID-19 has dramatically impacted business activity across Kenya and ensuring new investment is essential to help companies recover from the pandemic. The unique partnership between the European Investment Bank and the Cooperative Bank of Kenya has successfully supported private sector investment across Kenya since 2003. The latest cooperation backed by the European Investment Bank’s targeted East Africa COVID-19 Rapid Response facility will unlock EUR 50 million of new investment, strengthen economic resilience and allow Kenyan companies to harness opportunities for growth.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to join forces with the Cooperative Bank of Kenya to help small businesses across Kenya to withstand the shock of COVID-19. This new initiative will enable companies to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 operating environment and is a key part of the EIB’s support for health and economic resilience across Africa and around the world.” said Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Eastern and Southern Africa, and development.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Kenya, H.E. Henriette Geiger said “As the European Union we are happy to have enabled this cooperation between the EIB and the Cooperative Bank. With a grant of 8 Million Euro from the European Union, we expect that this line of credit will allow Kenyan businesses strengthen their economic resilience to shocks from the impact of Covid 19 and avoid further employment losses.”

The Co-operative Bank of Kenya and the European Investment Bank have worked together to finance investment across Kenya since 2003. This long-standing partnership has financed expansion of manufacturing, education, agriculture, transport and logistics firms and supported thousands of jobs.

Thanking the European Investment Bank, Dr. Gideon Muriuki on his part added: “Co-operative Bank commitment to the SME sector in Kenya will ensure that this facility will be available immediately to fund acquisition of tangible business assets, working capital, development of distribution networks, innovation and business research among others, and contribute to the recovery of  Kenya’s businesses following the covid-19 challenges.

“The credit facility will be available for up to a maximum of Kes 1.5billion per customer for a maximum tenor of 7 years. Businesses employing up to a maximum of 250 employees can apply immediately, he added.

Backing private sector recovery with long-term local currency financing

The new targeted financing scheme will include support companies in sectors most impacted by the trade, economic, tourism and health challenges triggered by COVID-19 and unlock investment to accelerate private sector recovery from the pandemic.

Kenyan companies will be able to access long -term loans in KSH, with tenors of up to 7 years, far longer than usually available.

EIB strengthening presence in Africa

New partnership highlighted ahead of the formal launch of the EIB’s new regional hub for East Africa.

EIB President Werner Hoyer and Vice President Thomas Östros are spending four days in Kenya meeting political, business and financial leaders on their first official visit to Africa since the pandemic.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and last year provided more than EUR 5 billion for new investment across Africa.

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