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Banking Sector

CBN Grants Lotus Bank Non-Interest Banking Licence

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday, June 17, granted a non-interest banking licence to Lotus Bank Limited.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘CBN grants Lotus Bank licence to commence non-interest banking operations’.

The statement read in part: “Lotus Bank seeks to pursue the mission of creating value and growth for all through digital innovation and best-in-class customer experience for Nigerians.”

Commenting on the grants, the founder and managing director of Lotus Capital (the pioneers of non-interest finance in Nigeria), Hajara Adeola, said the bank was starting its operations on a solid foundation of experienced leadership and a strong advisory council of experts.

Adeola explained that the bank is managed by a team of seasoned professionals and financial experts led by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kafilat Araoye, who has over 25 years of commercial banking experience.

She added that the institution’s focus and guiding principle is ‘to deliver an alternative option to interest-based banking and to cater to the needs of not just the banked but also the underbanked and unbanked population.

According to her, non-interest banking was geared towards supporting the real sector and Lotus Bank aimed to improve financial inclusion in the country.

The founder of the bank, however, disclosed that it would operate transparent pricing models as it was the norm in non-interest banking.

The statement added: “Our values are deeply rooted in partnership. A critical component of our mission is the provision of innovative solutions that drive ethical prosperity for all stakeholders.

“We pride ourselves on digital solutions that provide our customers with the convenience of unlimited access to our services and products.”

“Our products and service offerings will include non-interest business financing, deposit products (current, savings and investment accounts) and personal financing.”

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank GMD, Onyeagwu Emerges “CEO of the Year” as Zenith Bank Wins ‘Most Responsible Organisation in Africa’ at SERAS CSR Africa Awards 2021

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Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has emerged CEO of the Year for a second consecutive year at the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility (SERAS) CSR Africa Awards held at the weekend in Lagos.

According to the judges, he was selected for a number of reasons, including engendering a culture that promotes the continued investment in social initiatives in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under his leadership, the Zenith Bank’s social investments totalled NGN3.285 billion in 2020, representing nearly 2% of the Bank’s profit after tax.

The judges found him worthy for his commitment to promoting sustainability and responsible business practices in Nigeria, by his frontal leadership of sustainability in Zenith Bank, thereby enabling best industry practices in the banking sector, and for his passion for reducing carbon emissions in the Bank’s operations.

Zenith Bank Plc also emerged winner in four other categories at the SERAS CSR Africa Awards, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.

Zenith Bank was adjudged the Most Responsible Organisation in Africa, winning the overall best sustainability award, for its continued commitment to the tenets of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, within its immediate community and in the society at large.

The Bank also emerged as the winner in the category for Reporting and Transparency for its consistency in disclosing and communicating its sustainability journey and progress annually vis-a-vis environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, in line with the guidelines and protocols set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP), NigerianExchange (NGX), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The Bank also ensures the assurance of its sustainability report by reputable independent third parties. In 2021, the Bank’s 2020 sustainability report was assured by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and disseminated through the Bank’s website for the public and sent to all relevant stakeholders, including the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).

In the infrastructure development category, the Bank was voted winner for its nation-building initiatives and investments, including supporting efforts towards establishing basic services and functional security, governance, and economic and infrastructure systems, especially in Nigeria. As a testament to this and in demonstration of its commitment to the development (often referred to as reform, restructuring and rebuilding) of the Nigeria Police Force for the preservation of law and order, protection of life and property, and law enforcement in Nigeria, the Bank supported the Lagos State Security Trust Fund with N500,000,000.00 for the provision of security-enhancing facilities and infrastructure. This is in addition to contributions to other state security trust funds.

Zenith Bank was adjudged winner in the category for the Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment for its Z-Woman initiative, which offers credit facilities to women-owned businesses at a single-digit interest rate and for a gender-balanced workforce (Women make up about 50% of employees). During the reporting period, the number of women and women enterprises supported by the Bank, through the Z-Woman initiative, grew by 88.7%, from 391 in 2019 to 738 in 2020.

The Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAS) is an initiative of TruCSR which celebrates and promotes investments by corporate organisations in the society through CSR and sustainability initiatives. It made its debut in 2007, and participation was opened to other countries of Africa in 2016.

The 2021 awards featured 387 projects by 97 organisations across Africa. The SERAS Jury Board consists of global thought and best-practices leaders from around the world such as Maria Sillanpaa (Finland); Nyasha Gwatidzo (Zimbabwe); Adesuwa Onyenokwe (Nigeria); Amjed Achour (Morocco); Charles Ojei (Nigeria); Ellen Gunning (Ireland); Gina Din-Kariuki (Kenya); Indira Kartallozi (England); Lampe Omoyele (Nigeria); Paul Kapelus (South Africa); and Scott Walker (England).

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Banking Sector

Having a FirstBank Salary Account Can Ease Your Money Problems, Find Out How…

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“There is always a lot to spend money on, and sometimes the bills can’t wait for the salary to be paid” Tope complained when his wife informed him that they had run out of cooking gas and had to refill.

He had just moved to a new location with his family and the bills seemed to be coming at such speed that he could hardly keep up. Barely three weeks in the new apartment, the electricity bill had arrived.  The new apartment was bigger than the last and their two double-seater cushions left too much space vacant in the seating room. They needed to get a couple more pieces of furniture to fill the space. His wife had not stopped reminding him of the car he promised to get, in order to ease mobility for the family.

Everyone has been a Tope at some point in time, and that is why everyone needs a financial partner like FirstBank, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services brand. FirstBank offers a variety of loan products that can help you ease off the pressure as you work towards meeting pressing and urgent needs, as well as medium-term goals.

FirstAdvance is a digital product tailored for Salary Account holders, who have an urgent cash need and would want to access salary advances from the bank.  If you have held a salary account with FirstBank for up to two months, you can access 50% of your monthly net salary and as much as half a million naira (N500,000).

A physical visit to the bank branch is not required as you can access it via the FirstMobile (FirstBank’s Mobile banking app) and USSD channels. To access the service via USSD, dial *894*11# from the phone number linked with your FirstBank account. This has proved to be the solution for many people while emergencies arise before payday. There is no point in waiting for month-end before you can take on those pressing financial obligations.

FirstCredit is another digital product designed to cater for non-salaried individuals. All that is required is for your account to have been active and transacting in FirstBank for six months or more to access FirstCredit. It provides customers with quick and easy access to loans to fund urgent transactions. You do not need a smartphone or a physical visit to the bank to get this done as well. This credit facility can be accessed using a mobile phone and the USSD banking code, *894*11#. You can access as much as N300,000 to be repaid within 30 days.

No physical documentation or collateral is required, neither do you need a physical visit to the bank to access both loans.  Imagine the confidence that comes with sorting out your bills within minutes and without having to wait till month-end.

Salary accounts should do more than receive your monthly payments from your employer. It should be instrumental in making your day-to-day living easier, and this is what having your salary account with FirstBank can achieve for you. You can get a Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS) if you have a longer-term project at hand or investments to make. It may be paying school fees for your kids, acquiring assets or renovating your properties, paying rent, taking professional examinations. Customers who qualify can access Up to N50 million based on their net monthly income and rates are competitive while offering long-term and flexible repayments up to 48 months tenor.

Despite all these benefits and ease in access to loans, it literarily costs nothing to open a FirstBank Salary Account.  Zero opening balance, Zero minimum daily operating balance, Zero account maintenance charge, plus you even get your first debit card issued for free.

Truly, it is always “YOU FIRST” from FirstBank.

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Banking Sector

Nigerian Banks Disburse N7 Trillion Loans in 3 Years

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In the last three years, commercial banks in Nigeria have disbursed over N7 trillion in loans and advances to their customers, a feat which the Central Bank of Nigeria said was achieved through the apex bank’s loans to deposit ratio (LDR) policy.

This was stated by the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability of the CBN, Mrs Aishah Ahmad at the 40th anniversary summit of the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) in Lagos on Friday. Ahmad noted that the LDR policy, which specified that a specific percentage of bank deposits must go out as loans and kicked off in 2019, had seen the rate at which banks lend to the economy improve largely.

In July 2019, the CBN had increased the minimum required LDR to 60% and then went on to review it upward to 65% later in the year which has since then helped the country’s economy, as well as increased retail lending to households.

The increase of the loans to deposit ratio being increased means that for the amounts of money being deposited in the banks, the banks are to increase the rate at which loans will be given against the deposited amount. For example, if $1 is deposited, the LDR increase to 65% would mean that the bank would give out the equivalent of 60.5 cents per one dollar.

According to Ahmad, the CBN has tried for years to endure that it drives lending to the real sector as she went on state that the policy established by CBN Governor Emefiele over the past years has placed emphasis on this, in terms of intervention funds and also in terms of some of the policies put in place like the loan to deposit radio (LDR) which has added about N7 trillion in loans.

Speaking on the stability of the banking sector, Ahmad stated that all the indicators point to its strength and stability, as well as its role as a catalyst towards the country’s recovery.

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