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Banking Sector

Ecobank Targets 40m Women Businesses with New Product

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Ecobank - Investors King

Ecobank Nigeria Plc has launched its ‘Ellevate’ proposition.

The product was designed to provide access to finance, market and training to over 40 million female-owned and managed businesses as well as those that produce goods and services to women in its bid to stand out as the most female-friendly bank in the country.

The Managing Director of the Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, said during the launch of product that ‘Ellevate’ is the bank’s best gender-based proposition designed to empower women-owned and managed businesses in Nigeria and indeed across 33 African countries and beyond where Ecobank has its footprints.

Akinwuntan stated that Ellevate would also benefit businesses that have high proportionate female board membership as well as those that are manufacturing goods and providing services for women.

He said its objectives is to narrow the gender inequalities in entrepreneurship and unequal representation of women in the Nigerian formal business sector, adding that Ecobank earmarked N100 million to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

He said: “For us, Ellevate seeks to bring financial support to over 20 million female-owned, managed MSMEs in Nigeria. Add to it businesses that serve women and we will be looking at an ecosystem that is close to 40 million as our target market. We want to be the most female-friendly bank in Nigeria

“This proposition is a total package that will address the broad needs of women-owned businesses in Nigeria, including businesses that produce and provide services for women.

“Our objective at Ecobank is to be the leading pan-African financial institution driving the empowerment of our women, creating wealth, integrating our people financially and contributing to the economic development of the continent.

“Today, we are launching Ellevate to deepen our commitment to women-owned businesses.

“Ecobank’s elevate promises the women an end-to-end partnership in which they can gain access not only to financial services, loans at a discounted rate and fixed deposit investments at special premium rates, but also enjoy zero accounts maintenance fee, continuous financial education and capacity building, networking, access to markets on our online platform that will leverage on our digital payments.”

The Ecobank Group Executive for Commercial Banking, Ms. Josephine Ankomah, said at least 10 per cent of the bank’s commercial loans would be dedicated to businesses that are owned by women because “Africa needs empowered women to lead the change we want.”

The Executive Director of Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Ms. Carol Oyedeji, said Ellevate would be used to educate women on several opportunities and platforms they could use to support their business.

She said: “The Ellevate proposition we are launching today has several levers. One is finance, where we offer significant discounts on lending rates to women because we realised that they put in a lot into their businesses and we should help them to grow. We do this in collaboration with several intervention schemes from the regulators within healthcare, creative industry, agriculture.

“We have a mandate to train 100,000 entrepreneurs in Africa and we want women in Nigeria to be beneficiaries of this scheme, which is a top-class training programme that will provide them with sound knowledge of their business to be able to access finance and markets. We are really ready to support women under this Ellevate project and I believe the best is yet to come.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Jaiz Bank Boosts Chairman’s Income to N24m Amidst Strategic Expansion

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Jaiz Bank

Jaiz Bank has announced a 20% increase in its chairman’s annual income to N24 million.

This decision was unveiled in a recent statement filed with the Nigeria Exchange Limited, highlighting the bank’s commitment to rewarding leadership amidst its expansion plans.

The bank, renowned for its pioneering role in non-interest banking in Nigeria since 2012, also approved a remuneration package of N20 million for each non-executive director.

The announcement was made by the bank’s secretary, Mohammed Shehu, highlighting the importance of competitive compensation for board members who provide crucial oversight and strategic guidance.

Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) expressed confidence in the board’s leadership by approving the resolution on directors’ fees.

This move aligns with Jaiz Bank’s ongoing efforts to enhance its capital base to N70 billion by the end of 2024.

The bank also announced a dividend of 4 kobo per share, which will be distributed to shareholders on July 16, 2024.

This dividend declaration was welcomed as a testament to the bank’s operational success in a challenging economic climate.

Also, the AGM saw the re-election of Muhammadu Indimi and Muhammad Abdulmutallab as non-executive directors, reaffirming shareholder trust in their leadership capabilities.

Jaiz Bank’s financial performance has been impressive, with a 67% increase in profit before tax, reaching N11.1 billion in 2023.

Gross earnings also rose by 42% to N47.2 billion from the previous year, showcasing the bank’s successful growth strategy.

As Jaiz Bank continues to expand its services, the enhanced remuneration package signals a commitment to maintaining strong governance and leadership, paving the way for future achievements in ethical banking.

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Banking Sector

Nigeria Plans 50% Windfall Tax on Banks’ Currency Profits

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has announced a one-time 50% tax on windfall profits that banks reaped from currency gains following last year’s naira devaluation.

This decision was part of the government’s strategy to navigate the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The naira, which has depreciated by about 70% against the dollar since foreign exchange rules were relaxed in June 2023, allowed banks holding dollar assets to significantly boost their income.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria had advised lenders to retain these profits as a buffer against potential future losses.

The proposed tax will apply to the 2023 financial year, with non-compliance resulting in hefty fines.

The move has already impacted the NGX Banking Index, which fell by 1.3% as of midday trading in Lagos. Notable declines were seen in FBN Holdings Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, dropping 3.2% and 2.5% respectively.

This initiative mirrors similar actions in Europe, where countries like Italy and Hungary have imposed taxes on banks to address what they view as excessive profits during periods of high inflation and interest rates.

European banks have criticized these measures, warning of potential impacts on economic growth due to constrained lending capabilities.

President Tinubu’s administration believes this tax will help manage Nigeria’s fiscal challenges while addressing social needs.

Lawmakers are expected to support the measure, alongside a proposal to increase government spending by 6.2 trillion naira ($3.8 billion).

While banks have benefited from currency revaluations, many customers, particularly manufacturers with dollar-denominated loans, faced significant losses as they struggled with the weaker naira.

The new tax policy highlights the government’s broader efforts to stabilize the economy and attract foreign investment, aiming to ensure a more equitable distribution of financial gains.

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Banking Sector

Unity Bank Customers Win Over N4 Million in Cashtoken Rewards Promo

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Unity Bank customers have claimed over N4 million in cash rewards in its ongoing loyalty programme recently rolled out with Cashtoken, a Cash Reward-as-a-Service company.

The winners included no fewer than 40 customers who adopted and transacted on the Bank’s digital banking platforms, including the UniFi mobile banking application, the *7799# USSD platform or activated their Unity Bank Verve Card to transact on e-payment terminals across Nigeria.

Beginning from onboarding in our customer lifecycle journey, the Unity Bank Cashtoken Partnership commenced as a loyalty and reward scheme to reinforce the benefits of e-banking platforms. To begin, Customer transactions earn cash tokens, which are then redeemed to qualify for the monthly Cashtoken Rewards draw. Consequently, winners emerge from the draws to claim the cash prizes.

Recall that the retail lender announced the ongoing Cashtoken Rewards loyalty programme in December 2023 in partnership with Cashtoken Rewards Africa to empower customers and improve customer satisfaction. The partnership with Cashtoken Rewards also provided an opportunity for the Bank to migrate customers—old and new—to a platform that will continually create exciting rewards and appreciation for loyalty.

Eghomware Iyamu, Unity Bank’s Head of E-Business, commenting on the success of the Cashtoken Rewards loyalty program, stated: “We are excited to see our customers win over N4 million in cash rewards through our partnership with Cashtoken. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to recognizing and rewarding the loyalty of our customers”.

“By leveraging our digital banking platforms, including the Unifi mobile banking application and the *7799# USSD platform, we are not only enhancing customer experience but also providing life-changing opportunities. The Cashtoken Rewards program is a testament to our dedication to improving customer satisfaction and creating meaningful rewards along our customer lifecycle journey. We look forward to seeing more of our customers benefit from this exciting program as we continue to innovate and deliver exceptional value to them.”

Unity Bank has robust electronic banking products which include mobile and digital banking channels, including ATM, PoS, or any digital payment channels which support retail product transactions across the country. New-to-Bank customers are invited to open a Unity Bank account, onboard onto the digital platforms and begin transacting on the various platforms to earn cash token rewards and cash prizes while existing customers are encouraged to onboard and transact to win even more rewards and cash prizes.

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