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Banking Sector

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

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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

Tinubu Aide Urges CBN Governor to Consider Political Impact of Economic Reforms

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

Tunde Rahman, a senior aide to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, has said Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Olayemi Cardoso must start factoring in the political effects of CBN’s decisions.

In his piece, titled “Navigating the Dilemma: Political Considerations in Economic Reforms,” sheds light on the complexities facing Cardoso as he seeks to stabilize Nigeria’s economy.

Rahman’s commentary shared through the Presidency’s official channels, acknowledged the challenges Cardoso confronts, particularly regarding the country’s currency devaluation and the contentious plan to relocate CBN staff from Abuja.

While Rahman refrained from direct criticism of Cardoso’s policies since his appointment by Tinubu, he underscored the necessity for the CBN governor to strike a delicate balance between economic imperatives and political sensitivities.

The upcoming meeting of the monetary policy committee presents a pivotal juncture for Cardoso, where discussions are expected to revolve around potential interest rate hikes to counter inflation and bolster the national currency.

Rahman’s insights underscore the high stakes involved in these decisions, especially given the public outcry over soaring living costs and inflation rates nearing three-decade highs.

Cardoso’s commitment to orthodox central banking, following a period marked by blurred monetary and fiscal policy lines, reflects his determination to navigate Nigeria’s economic landscape with prudence.

Nonetheless, Rahman’s op-ed serves as a reminder of the intricate interplay between economic reforms and political realities, urging Cardoso to exercise flexibility in policymaking, especially in matters with broader political implications.

As Nigeria grapples with economic challenges, the spotlight remains firmly fixed on Cardoso and the CBN’s response to the nation’s evolving financial landscape.

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Banking Sector

CBN’s New Foreign Currency Gateway Bank Raises Concerns Over Nigerian Banks’ Liquidity: Fitch Ratings

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s announcement of a new Foreign Currency Gateway Bank has stirred concerns over the liquidity of Nigerian banks, according to recent commentary from credit rating agency Fitch Ratings.

The proposed bank, designed to centralize correspondent banking activities, has prompted Fitch to issue cautionary remarks regarding its potential impact on the banking sector’s foreign currency (FC) liquidity.

Governor of the CBN, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, unveiled plans for the Foreign Currency Gateway Bank to streamline and centralize correspondent banking functions, currently dominated by two major banks.

The initiative is part of the CBN’s efforts to address Nigeria’s persistent forex crisis.

Fitch Ratings expressed apprehension, highlighting the potential negative effects on the banking sector’s FC liquidity.

The agency noted that the centralization of correspondent banking activities, coupled with recent measures by the CBN, might exacerbate liquidity challenges for Nigerian banks.

Furthermore, Fitch cautioned that the recent devaluation of the naira, coupled with the CBN’s circular prohibiting banks from holding net long foreign currency positions, could further strain FC liquidity.

The prohibition on net long FC positions may leave banks more vulnerable to naira depreciation, potentially affecting their capital positions.

The CBN’s move to harmonize different segments of the foreign currency market last June led to significant naira devaluation, with the local currency closing at 899/$ at the official market by the end of last year.

As of February 13, the naira experienced a second devaluation, reaching 1,516/$, marking a 40% devaluation.

While the shift away from a managed exchange rate regime aims to attract capital inflows and mitigate forex shortages, it poses short-term risks such as heightened inflation and potential strains on loan quality and capital adequacy within the banking sector, as highlighted by Fitch Ratings.

As discussions continue, stakeholders closely monitor the implications of the proposed Foreign Currency Gateway Bank on Nigeria’s financial landscape.

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Banking Sector

CBN Mandates Automated Transaction Monitoring to Combat Fraud in Nigeria

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced new regulations mandating banks to implement automated transaction monitoring systems to combat the growing threat of fraud in the country’s financial sector.

Under the CBN’s latest ‘Consumer Protection Regulations’ draft, banks are required to adopt advanced measures to protect customers’ assets and prevent fraudulent activities.

These measures include multi-variant customer identification, multifactor authentication mechanisms for transactions, automated transaction monitoring, alert functions, and behavioral monitoring.

The move comes amid a significant rise in fraud cases across Nigeria, with the first half of 2023 witnessing 24,232 reported fraud cases totaling N12.33 billion.

The banking industry has seen 110 executives and junior staff members dismissed due to fraud-related offenses amounting to N82 billion over the past two years.

According to the CBN, sensitizing customers on fraud threats or scams and providing secure and simple user interfaces for digital financial services are crucial steps to minimize the risk of fraudulent activities.

The regulations emphasize the importance of continuous efforts to enhance cybersecurity and protect consumers in an increasingly digital financial landscape.

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