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Banking Sector

Dividend was Reduced to Strengthen Future Capacity, UBA Group MD Explains




The Group Managing Director/CEO of United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, explained that the bank reduced its dividend payment to strengthen capacity and deliver better performance now and in the near term.

UBA had recorded a growth of over 27 percent in profit for the year ended December 31, 2020. However, the dividend payout was reduced from 100 kobo in 2019 to 52 kobo in 2020.

But speaking during a conference call on the results, Uzoka said the decision to pay a lower dividend was informed by the need to build the right capacity that would enable the pan-African financial institute to be stronger.

“Yes we did not pay the kind of dividend that was expected but we are building for the future because no one knows what can happen. We have done 72 years as one of the oldest and agile franchises on our continent. We have experience in running businesses not just in Nigeria but all over the continent and the world. We have seen different challenges and we have experienced many things, and as they say, the experience is the best teacher. So we decided to take a conservative stance on dividend payout. What this means is that we have decided to strengthen our capacity to weather any unforeseen development that will come out. We have done our stimulation to determine the kind of capacity we want to based on a crystal clear focus of our goals. We know exactly what we want to achieve in the current year and in the mid-term and we decided to make sure that we build the right capacity,” he said.

Uzoka assured stakeholders that UBA has a very bright future and would ensure it delivers good returns on investments. According to him, on return on average asset, the bank guided at 1.6 percent for 2020 but delivered 1.7 percent, noting that this could go up to 1.8 percent.

“For our capital adequacy ratio, we guided at 25 percent, we got 23.7 percent and we can go back to 25 percent in 2021. And gross income ratio outside of impairment, we guided at 65 percent we got 61.9 percent and we think we can reach 60 percent. As it relates to deposit growth, we had guided a 25 percent and we achieve 48.1 percent and in 2021, we are looking at a growth of 50 percent. On gross loan growth, we gave guidance of 15 percent and we achieved 24.1 percent and in 2021, we are looking at achieving 20 percent. In all, the future looks very promising because we are working very hard to remain a leading operator in Nigeria and on the continent,” Uzoka said.

Banking Sector

Insider Dealing: Henry Oroh, An Executive Director of Zenith Bank, Acquires N46.982 Million Worth of Zenith Bank Shares



Henry Oroh

Henry Oro, an executive director of Zenith Bank Plc, has dumped N46.982 million on shares of Zenith Bank, according to the latest filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The executive director purchased Zenith Bank’s shares of 724,527 on April 1st, 2021 at N22.05 each or N15.976 million.

On April 6th, Oroh added 612,573 shares at N22 a unit and another 400,000 units at N21.90 per share.

On the same day, he purchased another 400,000 units at N21.90 a share. Bringing aggregate purchase on April 6th to 1,412,573 at an average price of N21.95 a unit or N31.006 million.

Henry Oroh has spent a total of N46.982 million on Zenith shares in April.

Henry Oroh was appointed as Zenith Bank’s executive director on September 1st, 2019 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Benin, Edo State and an MBA from the Lagos State University as well as an LLB Degree from the University of London.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN), Nigeria.

He has over two decades of banking experience. He began his banking career in 1992 at Citibank where he served for seven (7) years in Operations, Treasury and Marketing.

He joined Zenith Bank in February 1999 and has worked in various Groups and Departments within the Zenith Group Office. His expertise spans Operations, Information Technology, Treasury, Marketing, including the Manufacturing, Food and Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Oil and Gas, Public Sector, Consumer, as well as Corporate Banking and Business Development.

In April 2012, he was seconded to Zenith Bank Ghana Limited as an Executive Director and became the Managing Director/ Chief Executive in February 2016, where he successfully spearheaded the phenomenal growth of the Zenith Brand both within the Ghana market and the West African sub-region.

Henry has attended several Leadership Programmes and Executive Management Courses at the Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, New York, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, HEC Paris, JP Morgan Chase, UK and the Lagos Business School.

He comes to the Board of Zenith Bank Plc with strong competencies in Credit & Marketing, Operations, Information Technology, Treasury and impressive Leadership skills.

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Banking Sector

Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Adopts Virtual Audience For 10km Runners



In a bid to ensure the health and safety of all runners and essential service workers amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the title sponsors of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Access Bank PLC, has announced that the Lagos City Marathon will be held virtually for interested 10km runners this year.

The marathon, scheduled for April 10, 2021 can only accommodate 300 runners in line with the guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Athletics and the Lagos State Ministry of Health.

Speaking on the development, Access Bank’s Executive Director of Retail Banking, Victor Etuokwu said, “Our primary consideration is the health and safety of participants, attendees and staff that will be a part of the Lagos City Marathon. This is why we decided to have an exclusive virtual event – that allows participants from all over the world to run the race wherever they are.

‘’While we regret that we can’t host the live 10km race and fanfare that have become synonymous with the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, we continue to stand with the other sponsors to preserve public health as we look forward to hosting a successful marathon. We implore all well-meaning Lagosians to please adhere to the movement guidelines put in place by the Lagos State Government to ensure that the marathon fulfills its purpose of positively placing Lagos and indeed the whole of Africa on the global map,” he concluded.

Though audience participation may have changed, the organisers have also announced that the race route will largely remain the same. Runners will begin the race from the National Stadium, Surulere, opposite Teslim Balogun Stadium and finish at the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island.

Now in its sixth edition, the Silver – Labelled Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has featured over 200,000 registered athletes from over 12 participating countries collectively covering a distance of 42,000 kilometers.

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Banking Sector

Ecobank Nigeria Boss Canvasses Artificial Intelligence To Check Cybercrimes



Fund management

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has advocated the use of artificial intelligence to predict security threats and proffer solutions.

Akinwuntan who made this assertion at a webinar themed, “Cyber threat Landscape: Financial services, 2021 and beyond,”organised by Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN) on Tuesday, said as cyber-attacks continue to grow in intensity and frequency, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a game changer, stressing that the manual and semi-automated techniques of monitoring and responding to systems issues of the past are grossly inadequate to take care of the risk of the future.

He regretted the renewed cyber attacks on businesses globally occasioned by new technology and COVID-19 pandemic, “Technology has evolved and has changed the way we operate. Covid-19 only further accelerated the adoption of technology.

“Artificial intelligence, automation, internet have all created the opportunities for business to unlock more values, but cyber threats have also increased both in complexity and volume,” adding that “The new normal of working from home has further exposed institutions to cyber-attacks and data breaches. Endpoints for remote access must be secured or else institutions are exposed to attack by mismanaged endpoint.

“There is also the aspect of insider threat and exposure of password.”

Further, Mr Akinwuntan identified other threats faced by financial institutions and organisations across the world to include cloud security threats and supply chain attack, stressing that a breach on one vendor could have ripple effects on the organizations.

Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, who was represented by the Director of Information Technology (IT) at CBN, Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed said the conversation around cyber threat could not be more important than now, stressing that the apex bank is committed to strengthening the security framework of financial institutions to prevent the proliferation of such threats.

She noted that “The financial sector is particularly susceptible to cybercrime, given its crucial roles in financial intermediation in a highly connected financial system. CBN is committed to strengthening its regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk and vulnerability testing for the banking sector.”

In his presentation, US -based Cyber Security expert, Dr. Austen Ohwobote advised that as the pace of digital disruption accelerates and innovative new technologies reach the market, organizations should put measures in place to check cyber crimes. He listed the different cyber-attacks such as web-based attack, third party attack, insider threats attacks, and advised organisations to put resilient structures in place in order to understand the nature of attacks and when attacks are about to happen.

For financial institutions to adequately check cyber crimes, he called on organisations to adapt and implement cyber security as a guide, recognise cyber security as big issue, appoint cyber security ambassadors, raise customer awareness, emphasize strong password and Multi-Factor Authorization (MFA), adding that cyber security expert should be a member of decision making and re-emphasize third party vendor management.

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