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Banking Sector

First Bank Unveils Fully Automated Branch

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO - Investors King

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced the launch of its fully automated branch, called the FirstBank Digital Experience Centre.

It disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday titled ‘FirstBank unveils a fully automated self-service branch, strengthens digital transformation in Nigeria’.

First Bank said the branch was established to put customers at an advantage in carrying out various activities on their own without interacting with anyone.

“The branch is a reinvention of digital banking solutions in the country as customers are exposed to a seamless world-class banking experience,” it said.

It said the self-service branch was built with a wide range of phased modern banking facilities, including humanoid robots equipped with video banking and artificial intelligence.

The bank said the branch also took on the role of friendly branch staff, teller cash recyclers, self-service kiosks for non-financial transactions such as account update, fast-track (contactless) ATMs, interactive smart screen to ensure effective and comprehensive consultation with bank sales staff via remote video connection.

According to the statement, other services include paperless/electronic forms designed to promote timely resolution of complaints, dispensing of account statements and account enquiry/management, funds transfer, and dispensing of new ATM cards.

It said others include fixed deposit booking between N100,000 to N5m, card services and management, cheque management, email and phone number update, ATM card and token block.

The Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said, “With our digital experience centre, we have reiterated our role in pioneering leading innovative technology-driven solutions that are central to enriching the experience of our customers in carrying out various transactions using state-of-the-art facilities with ease and convenience.

“Our self-service branch exemplifies the future of banking in Nigeria, and we remain committed to putting you, our customers, first.”

Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Signs MOU With CFA Institute to Develop Finance and Investment Professionals

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Zenith Bank Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute to promote efforts and activities that support the formation, training, and updating of human capital in finance and investment for the overall development of the Nigerian financial services sector. 

The MoU, was signed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu; the President/CEO of the CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin; and the President of CFA Society Nigeria, Ibukun Oyedeji on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu commended the CFA Institute and the CFA Society, Nigeria for their laudable programmes in developing finance and investment professionals in Nigeria.

According to him, your Women in Investment Management Initiative, CFA Institute Research Challenge, CFA Society Nigeria Ethics Challenge and University Affiliation Program are very laudable, and Zenith Bank will continue to partner with the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Nigeria to ensure that young finance and investment professionals get the needed support for their career development.

In his words, “As a good corporate citizen, Zenith Bank remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural and social development of the society. As such, we continue to support projects and initiatives that have long-term social and economic benefits for our various publics and stakeholders. Partnering with the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Nigeria is therefore a demonstration of our commitment to building professional excellence in the finance services industry in Nigeria”.

At the CFA Institute Africa Investment Conference, during the ‘Journey to the Top: A Discourse with CEOs’ segment, Dr. Onyeagwu inspired future finance and investment professionals to uphold the highest standards of integrity.

He stressed the importance of making difficult yet high-quality decisions, building robust networks, and dedicating themselves to hard work for career success.

In his words, “as upcoming professionals, the opportunities are immense for you. Africa doesn’t get bigger than Nigeria. There is scarcity of the right kind of people that have the talent, that have the character and the leadership to provide leadership in organizations. Make a decision to be one of those, make a decision to be different. You must be driven by your passion; you must delay gratification. In Zenith what is driving us is the strive for excellence. It is not about who you are and where you come from. We have the best class of talents you can think of anywhere in the world.”

He assured the young finance and investment professionals that Zenith Bank will offer immediate employment opportunity to CFA Charter Holders and those who qualify as Chartered Accountants.

Also speaking on the MoU, the President/CEO, CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin reiterated the Institute’s commitment to the professional development of students and upcoming professionals.

In her words, “there are many things that we do for students, we invest heavily in students and why is that? Because they are our future. The mission of the CFA Institute is to lead the investment industry with the highest standards of ethics, education and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society and that starts with our CFA programme”.

She commended Zenith Bank for its continued support to the CFA Society Nigeria and sponsorship of the CFA Institute Research Challenge over the years.

She also commended the bank for being one of the top employers of CFA members in the country. She expressed her admiration of the culture of excellence in Zenith Bank.

Also speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the President of CFA Society Nigeria, Ibukun Oyedeji commended Zenith Bank for its partnership with CFA Society Nigeria and its commitment to the development of young finance professionals in the country.

The the CFA Institute Africa Investment Conference is being hosted by the CFA Institute and CFA Societies from Ghana, East Africa, South Africa and Mauritius. The conference has representatives from over 20 universities in Nigeria (members of their investment clubs being supported by CFA Society).

 

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Banking Sector

FirstBank UK Enhances Fixed-Income Workflow Through Bloomberg Integration

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

FirstBank UK, the UK subsidiary of First Bank Nigeria Limited, has announced its onboarding on Bloomberg’s Trade Order Management System (TOMS) to enhance its fixed-income workflow.

The integration with TOMS is expected to provide FirstBank UK with access to a comprehensive suite of data and analytics, communications, order, and execution management solutions, streamlining its fixed-income bonds business.

As a niche market-maker for its customers in Africa, FirstBank UK plays a vital role in providing market liquidity in cash bonds, particularly in Nigerian, Angolan, Egyptian, and Ghanaian Eurobonds, to manage risk and optimize its inventory.

Olukorede Adenowo, CEO-designate at FirstBank UK, expressed enthusiasm about the integration, stating, “Bloomberg TOMS provides FirstBank UK with a complete end-to-end trading workflow covering African bonds in most of our home markets. The solution enables us to focus on expanding our footprint in the African Fixed Income landscape and deliver a first-in-kind service to our customers in Africa.”

Bloomberg’s TOMS is renowned for enhancing operational efficiency across enterprises. Lisa Bravo, Global Head of Sell-Side OMS at Bloomberg, commented, “We are pleased to help FirstBank UK enhance operational efficiency across its enterprise with our award-winning sell-side order management solution TOMS.”

FirstBank UK had previously digitized its order management workflow by offering clients access to liquidity on its Eurobond Single-Dealer Platform.

The recent integration with Bloomberg TOMS aims to centralize order handling, aggregated custom analytics, and liquidity tools within a single interface, facilitating real-time access to liquidity for customers.

Robert Hagenaars, Head of Markets at FirstBank UK, highlighted the unique feature of real-time access to liquidity in their markets, providing a distinct advantage for their customers.

This move signifies FirstBank UK’s commitment to leveraging advanced technological solutions to fortify its position in the African Fixed Income market and deliver enhanced services to its clientele.

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Banking Sector

BFREE and Union Bank Explore Distressed Loan Portfolio Acquisition in Innovative Partnership

German-Nigerian Fintech BFREE and Union Bank of Nigeria to Explore Distressed Loan Portfolio Acquisition

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In a strategic move to address economic challenges and adapt to the current financial landscape, German-Nigerian fintech firm BFREE and Union Bank of Nigeria have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that explores the potential acquisition of distressed loan portfolios.

The MoU was formalized during the German-Nigerian Business Forum in Berlin, signifying a collaboration that could reshape Union Bank’s loan portfolio strategy.

BFREE, in conjunction with its international financing partners, is eyeing a potential investment cap of $40 million.

The focus of the collaboration is on refinancing non-performing loan portfolios, particularly those facing delays in repayment or already written off.

As Union Bank adjusts to economic pressures, the partnership leverages artificial intelligence to provide innovative solutions, offering increased flexibility for loan repayment plans.

Union Bank, acknowledging the challenging economic environment, has taken proactive steps to navigate uncertainties.

Executive Director of Union Bank, Joe Mbulu, expressed excitement about the strategic partnership, emphasizing its alignment with Union Bank’s commitment to innovation and adaptability.

This collaboration underscores the dedication to finding inventive solutions to address economic challenges faced by customers.

The potential acquisition of distressed loan portfolios reflects a forward-looking approach to financial management and resilience in a dynamic economic landscape.

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