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AfDB, Fidelity Bank to Fund MSMEs With $50m

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  • AfDB, Fidelity Bank to Fund MSMEs With $50m

The African Development Bank and Fidelity Bank Plc have signed a $50m financing agreement aimed at the funding and promoting the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

At the signing of the agreement in Abuja on Tuesday, AfDB disclosed that the board of the development finance institution had approved the fund on October 10, 2018, to boost the development of small businesses in Nigeria.

It also disclosed that at least 30 per cent of the fund must go into promoting businesses that were owned and ran by women entrepreneurs.

Senior Director/Country Representative at AfDB, Ebrima Faal, signed the agreement on behalf of the DFI while Deputy Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mohammed Balarabe, signed for the commercial bank.

Speaking at the event, Faal described Fidelity Bank as a niche player in the MSME sector. According to him, the $50m funding will strengthen the bank’s performance in advancing credit to small businesses.

The AfDB boss said, “We are excited about this partnership. The lines of credit tended to be general support for SMEs. This one has a strong emphasis on gender. It can be considered as a vanguard credit for us.

“Our main focus is to reach out to SMEs to give the much-needed impact. We count on you to ensure that the requirement for loan disbursement is okay to enable it to reach out to the target audience.”

Balarabe, on the other hand, said that businesses at the lower level had the capacity to catalyse the development of the economy, adding that the funding was unique because of the gender specification.

He said, “The AfDB has found us fitting to be one of the banks that will be benefiting for onward lending to MSMEs. Fidelity is one of the leading lenders to the segment, but for us, it’s not all about lending.

“Our engagement with MSMEs is more. We take time to find the needs of such businesses, and work with them on how to run the businesses.”

Our correspondent learnt that Fidelity Bank had in 2001 received the sum of $18m from AfDB for onward lending to small businesses while in 2013 it received $75m for the same purpose.

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.

Banking Sector

Bank Directors Advocate for Improved Corporate Governance In The Sector

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Bank Directors of Nigeria Association

The President, Bank Directors Association of Nigeria, Mrs Osaretin Demuren, has called on bank directors to enhance their corporate governance practices to ensure stability and accountability in the banking sector.

She said this during BDAN’s 24th annual general meeting in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to her, it is important to ensure that the appointment of directors is properly approved and that only qualified candidates are appointed.

“Corporate governance should be entrenched in bank directors. Even when recruiting directors, you have to find out on what basis, and not everyone is corporate governance-compliant,” she said.

She added, “We have gone beyond banking where banks should be owned by individuals. Once that is out of the way, then corporate governance can be entrenched.

“But when you have an individual, whether directly or indirectly behind, then it is now left to the regulator or the nation to call that person to order.”

The BDAN president, who was set to step down, had her tenure extended by the council and members by another 90 days pending an election and appointment of a new president.

In her opening remarks, she said, “I took over as the president of BDAN in October 2018, at the 21st annual general meeting.

“Since assuming office, I can confidently say that with the support of my colleagues, we have been able to deliver on the mandate of the association by increasing members’ participation, increase in revenue as evident in our financial statements and improved quality of our programmes.

”There is still more to be done notwithstanding especially with regards to advocacy with the regulators. I am sure whoever takes over as president will further deliver on our aspirations.

“I am therefore informing this meeting that this is the last meeting I will be acting in the capacity as president as my tenure as the chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank has come to an end and we are in a transition period.

“In view of this, we will also have a transition period where I will be speaking with my colleagues chairmen of banks on who will be my successor.”

She assured that members would be carried along throughout the process.

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Banking Sector

Grobank Renamed As Access Bank South Africa After Acquisition

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Access Bank

Following the completion of all regulatory procedures, Grobank Limited has been officially renamed Access Bank South Africa Limited.

A statement titled ‘Grobank formally becomes Access Bank South Africa’ said the deal was finalised after Access Bank’s acquisition of controlling shares in the former Grobank Limited, South Africa.

“With this new development, Access Bank South Africa Limited is positioned to deliver a robust banking operation that connects key African markets,” Access Bank said on Wednesday.

According to the statement, at an official closing ceremony in Sandton on Monday, top executives of the two banks were upbeat about new opportunities for clients, noting that the bank would continue to support all its stakeholders while opening doors to growth opportunities both in the short and long term.

The Chief Executive Officer, Grobank, Bennie Rooy, said, “This is an extremely exciting day for the South African banking industry.

“Our corporate customers will now have increased access to trade finance, treasury, international payments and loans through the wider distribution network offered by Access Bank’s presence in the key trade corridors that connect Africa to the rest of the world.”

Banking with Access Bank South Africa, he added, meant greater security as well as access to more products and services through a best-in-class digital platform, and a full retail banking suite will soon be on offer.

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Sustains Profitability in Q1 2021

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Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most profitable lender, reported another strong profit after tax of N53.060 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.

In the unaudited financial statement obtained by Investors King, the amount was higher than the N50.5 billion achieved in the first quarter of 2020.

Gross earnings moderated from N166.814 billion in Q1 2020 to N157.309 billion in Q1 2021.

Interest and similar income also declined from N114.330 billion in Q1 2020 to N114.330 billion in Q1 2021. While the bank cut down on interest and similar expenses from N32.829 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2020 to N18.008 billion.

Net interest income stood at N83.168 billion, up from N81.501 billion achieved in Q1 2020.

Profit before tax expanded from N58.788 billion in Q1 2020 to N61.022 billion in Q1 2021.

The lender paid N7.962 billion in income tax in the first quarter of 2020, while profit after income tax deduction stood at N53.060 billion.

Zenith Bank gained N5.698 billion from foreign currency translation differences and another N1.387 billion from fair value movements on equity instruments to bring other comprehensive income for the quarter to N6.065 billion.

Therefore, total comprehensive income for the quarter stood at N59.125 billion.

Going forward in 2021, Zenith Bank said the ongoing economic recovery and improvements would translate into improved financial performance.

This is expected to be supported by local and international COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, rising commodity prices, and global economic growth of up to six per cent, as estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The Group will continue to position itself to take advantage of positive developments in the domestic and global economy to deliver improved financial performance and returns to all its stakeholders,” Zenith Bank noted.

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