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Banking Sector

Ukraine Bucks Trend as it Ponders Implications of CBDC, Solid Signal of Private Sector Investment



Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

Recently, the National Bank of Ukraine published its study, “Survey results on the possibility of e-hryvnia implementation.” Perhaps among its most notable elements, it found that a CBDC would be most welcome as a way to better facilitate cashless retail payments, in contrast to many other entities which are looking at the innovation as a way to blunt the disappearance of cash or as a primary method to facilitate cross-border payments.

“In this case, where a number of the respondents came from the retail sector, it makes sense that there is interest, as a CBDC could provide relief from the high cost of payments. Particularly intriguing is that the majority of market participants surveyed said that they would be potentially willing to invest in CBDC infrastructure and, once launched, promotions,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

“This is notable because one of the biggest barriers to a transition toward a CBDC will be the education factor. Getting the populace onboard and utilizing the technology may prove challenging for certain subsections of the population. The fact that private sector participants are willing to step up and offer assistance with promoting the new method is promising,” said Gardner.

In the survey, 73% of respondents believe that e-hryvnia should be implemented using blockchain technology. Also, the survey noted that the most convenient means for retail cashless payments using e-hryvnia would be a bank/company mobile application and a single national mobile application.

“One of the great things about what Ukraine is doing is found in their process. They’re actively engaging with stakeholders from across a wide spectrum of sectors. Bringing in innovators and market leaders to decide how your country can best benefit from a CBDC is something that more bureaucrats should consider. There needs to be open communication between the folks that understand industry, those that understand the technology, and those in charge with regulation and implementation on the government side,” opined Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“Beyond the intersection of the public and private sectors, the importance of which can’t be overstated, it is positive to see those surveyed have come to agree that the future of payments is found within the blockchain. Blockchain technologies are really a game changer in finance. They aren’t going away, and those who embrace them will come to excel over the next decade,” Gardner offered.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Banking that Suits Every Lifestyle: Here’s how Fidelity Bank Supports the Everyday Nigerian



Fidelity Bank- Investors King

Ever committed to the well-being of Nigerians, and as an extension of its avowed desire to be the go-to bank for customers’ lifestyle needs, Fidelity Bank Plc continues to set the pace in the Nigerian financial services industry with excellent banking products and services. The bank has also received recognition for its numerous praiseworthy initiatives tailored to support Nigerians in their different pursuits.

Under the adept guidance of its CEO and Managing Director, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the leading Nigerian bank continues to create a world of limitless opportunities, making financial services easy and accessible in various sectors such as SME support, digital banking, online banking, corporate banking and transformative Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

In the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SME) sector, Fidelity Bank is topping the charts as one of the SME-friendly Nigerian banks. This ties to their recognition of the undeniable impact that SMEs have on the Nigerian economy. According to a recent report by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, SMEs in Nigeria have contributed about 48% of the national GDP in the last five years. With 17.4 million, they account for 84% of employment and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector regarding the number of enterprises. To support this growth and a more robust economy, Fidelity Bank has positioned itself as a leading supporter of small businesses with a suite of tailored offerings, equipping Nigerian SMEs with the much-needed capacity for sustained business growth and entrepreneurial success.  This is evident in their low-interest credit facilities with flexible collateral requirements, the Fidelity SME Academy which offers business advisory to business owners, and the critically acclaimed Fidelity SME Radio Forum. All these initiatives and more have resulted in tremendous success for the benefiting SMEs.

Going beyond SME support, the bank has also recorded remarkable strides in digital banking. Fidelity Bank currently leads a growing number of forward-looking financial institutions that are leveraging technology to create innovative products and services. The bank underwent a significant evolution of business culture over the past years to improve operational efficiency.

The impact of this business evolution can be easily seen in the bank’s recently introduced “Pay Yourself” digital service for salary earners and SMEs. This ground-breaking digital product puts customers in charge of their finances by letting them determine when they want to get paid- anytime from midnight on their official payday to the last day of the month. The product which had been piloted successfully for eleven months by their staff is now available to customers whose salaries are domiciled with Fidelity Bank. ‘Pay Yourself’ gives customers the ability to pay themselves their salary via USSD code on their mobile phones.

The Fidelity Virtual Card is another revolutionary product the bank has introduced recently to enhance its customers’ lifestyle by enabling them to carry out transactions without their physical cards. The cards can also be linked to any account and are 100 percent secure. In addition to this, the bank partnered with PayAttitude, a Nigerian fintech company, to create seamless payments and financial transactions. With this partnership, Fidelity Bank customers now have the option of carrying out transactions with just their phone numbers.

This drive by the bank to better the lives of Nigerians can also be seen in the bank’s noteworthy investments in corporate organisations. Taking cognisance of the sector’s contribution to the Nigerian economy, the bank has over time developed tailored products and services to sustain such organisations with their working capital and structured finance needs.

These services and products enable corporate organisations to own efficient Current Accounts with complimentary management of the daily cash flows. The bank also provides specific solutions such as the Working Capital Finance, which provides working capital solutions such as Trade Finance where the bank facilitates the issuance of various types of Letters of Credit, Bills for Collection, and Import Finance Facility for international trade. The bank also offers Overdraft and finances, which guarantees easy access to funding for corporates with short-term funding needs. There are also Bonds and Guarantees, which are Contingent Liabilities to guarantee performance and/or payments on contractual obligations for Large Corporates.

All of these, amongst others, solidifies the bank’s position as a customer-centered bank, with the mission to not only make financial services easy and accessible to Nigerians everywhere but, more importantly, to provide financial services that suit the Nigerian lifestyle.

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Banking Sector

Wema Bank Grows Profit Before Tax by 149 Percent to N4.3 Billion in H1 2021



Wema Bank - Investors King

Wema Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, grew profit before tax by 149 percent in the first half (H1) of 2021, according to the lender’s unaudited financial statement released through the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

Profit before tax rose from N1.72 billion recorded in the first half of 2020 to N4.30 billion in the first half of 2021. See the details below.

Key Financial Highlights

Total assets N979.52bn (FY 2020) N1.02trn (H1 2021)
Gross earnings N37.95bn (FY 2020) N39.82bn (H1 2021)
PBT N1.72bn (H1 2020) N4.30bn (H1 2021
CAR 11.00% (H1 2020) 13.2% (H1 2021)

Commenting on the results, Mr. Ademola Adebise, the Managing Director said, “We are pleased to release our results for the first half of the year. Our performance speaks to the spirit of resilience that runs through the organization as we have strongly bounced back from the covid impacted performance of the same period in 2020.

“As the economy opens back up fully, we expect to see a stronger performance for full year 2021. Over the course of the second half of 2021, the bank will continue its strong focus on the digital business, pushing for further gains in customer acquisition, consumer lending and transaction volumes while on the commercial side of the bank, we will continue to aggressively grow our commercial lending business alongside trade and other revenue lines.”

The bank recently appointed Mr. Emeka Obiagwu as an Executive Director while Prince Olusegun Adesegun & Adeyemi Adefarakan were appointed as Non-Executive Directors.

The Chief Finance & Strategy Officer, Tunde Mabawonku said “We are delighted to announce the Bank’s H1 2021 results. The performance shows growth in key financial metrics despite the challenging macro-economic environment arising from the covid 19 pandemic.”

  • Wema Bank recorded YoY growth of 149% in profit before tax (PBT) to close H1 2021 at N3bn;
  • Gross earnings grew by 4.94% y-o-y to ₦82bn in H1 2021 (H1 2020: ₦37.95bn).
  • Net fee and commission income increased by 71.7% y-o-y to ₦40bn in H1 2021(H1 2020: ₦3.1bn), due to 112.6% increase in credit related fees, 151.5% increase in management fees, 147.7% growth in fees on financial guarantees.

According to Mr. Mabawonku, “The key measure of success for us is growth in customers and customer activity – and we are glad that we are reporting strong growth here.”

  • Total liabilities grew by 4.9% to ₦9bn in H1 2021 (H1 2020: ₦909.2bn), driven by deposits from customers which grew by 0.5% to ₦808.8bn in H1 2021 (FY 2020: ₦804.8bn)
  • Cost of funds declined to 5.3% from 6.4% in H1, 2020. NPL numbers remained below 5% at 3.55% while Capital Adequacy of 13.24% is above the regulatory minimum of 10%.

Income Statement

  • Gross earnings increased by 4.94% (Y-o-Y) to ₦82bn in H1’2021 from ₦37.95bn in H1 2020
  • Reported Profit before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) of ₦30bn and ₦3.70bn, an increased by 148.8% in H1’2021 (H1’2020; ₦1.72bn PBT, ₦1.49bn PAT)
  • Net-Interest Income grew by 55.2% to ₦31bn (H1’2020: ₦11.80bn)
  • Non-Interest Income declined to ₦64bn from ₦8.30bn in H1’2020

Statement of Financial Position

  • Deposit Liabilities up by 0.5% to ₦87bn (FY 2020: ₦804.87bn)
  • Net loans grew by 3.63% to ₦15bn (FY 2020: ₦360.08bn)
  • Total Asset increased by 4.76% to ₦02trn (FY 2020: ₦979.52bn)

Key Ratios

  • ROAE of 14.03% in H1’2021 (H1’2020: 6.25%)
  • ROAA of 0.82% in H1’2021 (H1’2020: 0.42%)
  • 55% NPL ratio (H1’2020: 5.58%)
  • CAR is 13.24% (H1’2020: 11.00%)

Operational Achievements

  • Fitch, GCR and Agusto re-affirm Wema’s National Long-term rating at (BBB-)

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Banking Sector

Ecobank Nigeria Relaunch Credit Card Variants



Ecobank - Investors King

Ecobank Nigeria has announced the relaunch of its Credit Card products with a wide range of benefits to customers including access to International Point of Sale (POS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

Korede Demola-Adeniyi, Head, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, who made the announcement in Lagos, said the Ecobank Platinum and Gold Credit Cards would afford holders the opportunity to shop now and pay later while also ensuring customer safety by eliminating the risk of carrying cash.

She added that the Ecobank credit card can be used in-store, on the web and via all digital channels.

“ Our card types include Platinum and Gold Cards both of which have a validity period of three years, however, the credit limit would be for a maximum period of 12months, and this is renewable. The Ecobank credit card is cash on the go and its pricing is competitive. Our customers can have up to 45 days of interest-free usage. Interest would be applied on the unpaid amount after the grace period and not the total credit limit on the card. This product is available on a pre-approval basis to selected individual customers (new and existing) of the Bank”. She stated.

Also speaking, Daberechi Effiong, Head, Consumer Products, Ecobank Nigeria listed the features of the card types and eligibility criteria. According to her, salaried customers and customers with investments are eligible for credit cards. She added that customers with an existing loan may also request a credit card, but that their capability to take on additional credit would be considered in deciding the credit card limit.

Mrs. Effiong added that customers may request credit cards via various channels that include the Ecobank website, the Bank’s 24/7 contact center, or by simply walking into any of its 255 branches nationwide. She advised those seeking further inquiry to do so via the Bank’s social media platforms and contact center.

Ecobank Nigeria Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group with operations in 33 African countries and a presence in four other locations (London, Paris, Beijing and Dubai). Ecobank Nigeria is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.

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