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Banking Sector

VFD Group To Obtain Commercial Banking Licence Before 2023



The VFD Group Plc has stated that it will intensify its quest to obtain a commercial banking licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) before the end of 2023.

In addition, it said it is on the verge of establishing a global remittance business that would allow it expand its offering within the foreign exchange and currency exchange business.

It also stated that it would refocus its VFD Microfinance Bank to a full digital banking entity that would offer diverse innovative financial solutions to its esteemed customers.

These were disclosed yesterday by the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the VFD Group, Mr. Nonso Okpala, during the group’s fifth Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos.

Okpala said: “While we are yet to conclude our plans of acquiring a commercial bank license and an insurance company, we are well placed to achieve these way ahead of the timeframe of 2023.

“Our application for a commercial banking license remains in the works and at an advanced stage. We are in constant engagement with the regulatory authorities, and we would provide update to all stakeholders as we make progress.

“Learning from the past 12 months, it is instructive that we refocus our customer facing businesses to become dynamic, leveraging technology to create omni-channel experience that will meet our customers’ needs while allowing us to be lean and efficient.

“Hence, our micro-finance bank will begin the transition to a full digital entity offering diverse innovative financial solutions to our esteemed customers.”

He said the group’s “conversations with a UK-based remittance company are at an advanced stage and we hope to conclude this in the second quarter of 2021.”

The group managing director said the group delivered on all key financial indicators in 2020 to validate its strategic direction.

Okpala said the major factors that contributed to the performance were the group’s investment income from its Eurobond portfolio, interest income from lending activities, earnings from other subsidiaries and foreign exchange valuation gain.

He said: “We did quite well this year largely from our treasury activities as well as income from subsidiary companies. The dividend was our way of expressing appreciation to our shareholders for their support.”

The Chairman of the VFD Group Plc, Mr. Olatunde Busari (SAN) declared that the group has set aside dividend of N1.014 billion to reward its shareholders with the payment of a dividend of N8.51k per share for 2020 financial year that ended on December 31, 2020, compared to N3.30 it paid in 2019.

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Banking Sector

85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline



First Bank

As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.

Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.

Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.

However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.

Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.

Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.

Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.

She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.

Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.

Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.

Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.

As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.

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Banking Sector

Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate




In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.

This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.

The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.

The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.

The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.

The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.

Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.

The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank



Femi Otedola

FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.

At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.

The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.

The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.

Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.

Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.

Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.

The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.

Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.

FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.

As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.

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