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).
Foreign Exchange: First Bank to Discontinue Dollar Transactions on Naira Card
First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022
First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022.
In a recent email that First Bank sent to its customers, the bank stated customers will no longer be able to perform international transactions on First Bank Naira credit card, virtual card and visa prepaid card.
The message read, “Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022,” First Bank said.
The message added that customers can only use their multicurrency and other permitted cards to make international transactions.
“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000.” The statement concluded.
It could be recalled that in July 2022, Standard Chartered Bank also suspended international transactions on its naira visa debit card.
Other banks that have suspended international transactions on naira cards include Flutterwave, Eversend and other financial technology platforms.
Investors King had earlier reported that Nigerian banks have reduced international transactions to $20 on Naira cards due to the ongoing foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria.
The reduction started in 2020 from $500 to $100 in 2021. In March 2022, many of the financial institutions subsequently reduced international transactions on naira cards to $20.
At the 364th Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja in 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank will stop supplying foreign currency to Deposit Money Bank (DMBs) otherwise known as commercial banks by the end of the year. He, therefore, urges them to source for their foreign exchange from export proceeds.
Islamic Finance: Move Towards Open Banking Set to Accelerate
Leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.
New research shows that most leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.
In the research conducted to support the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022 (GIFF2022), 90 per cent of Islamic finance professionals believe the adoption of open banking by financial institutions, Governments, fintechs and other stakeholders will increase by 2025, with nearly two out of five (38 per cent) expecting a dramatic rise in adoption.
Growth of open banking in Islamic finance will partly be driven by more and better regulations, the study also found. Almost a third (32 per cent) of Islamic finance professionals who were questioned predicted a dramatic increase in regulation, with another 59 per cent forecasting a slight increase in regulation.
The study found that Islamic finance professionals working across a wide range of sectors believe open banking will mean greater use of fintech innovations in Islamic finance such as Waqf, Zakat and Sadaqah. More than half (62 per cent) questioned, strongly agree open APIs will enable the platforms to access customer accounts in Islamic finance, with the result that customers can make contributions through the platforms. Another 30 per cent slightly agree.
Islamic finance professionals believe that the key benefit of open banking in the Islamic finance industry is to meet strong customer demand and offer more choice with the ability of banks to offer more innovative products. Other benefits include being able to manage the escalating costs of launching new digital services at scale and developing strategies to monetise customer data to generate new revenue streams. The growth of open banking will also enable institutions to meet regulatory requirements to provide higher transparency for reporting data.
Chief Executive Officer of Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia said, “Increased adoption of open banking in Islamic finance brings a wide range of benefits to the sector and research shows Islamic finance professionals are expecting rapid developments in the sector over the next three years. There is a clear need for more and better regulation around open banking and open finance in Islamic finance, and that is recognised by Islamic finance professionals who are expecting strong progress.”
First Bank CEO, Adesola Adeduntan Ranked First on Nigeria Banks CEOs Media Performance Report
Adesola Adeduntan topped the Nigerian Banks’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) media performance report for August.
It is another testimony to the sterling performance and media engagement of the First Bank helmsman, Adesola Adeduntan as he was ranked top in the Nigerian Banks CEOs Media Performance Report for August.
An independent analysis of the media performance and prominence of Nigeria Commercial Banks CEOs placed Adesola Adeduntan ahead of Yemisi Edun of FCMB, Ademola Adebisi of Wema Bank and Abubakar Suleiman of Sterling Bank.
According to the analysis which was carried out by MATE+, using various data gathering and PR Metrics, the prominence of the bank CEOs was tracked both in the online and print media.
He was followed by Yemisi Edun of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) with 23%, while Ademola Adebisi of Wema Bank and Abubakar Sulieman of Sterling Bank completed the chart with 19% and 14% respectively.
In June, First Bank also topped the list of Nigerian Banks in the media while it was also ranked first in promotional media content in May.
Meanwhile, the report also tracked the media prominence of the CEOs in the Nigeria Insurance sector.
The performance report revealed that the MD of AIICO Insurance, Babatunde Fajemirokun had the most media exposure with 45%.
He was followed by Eddie Efekoha of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance with 17%, Kunle Ahmed of AXA Mansard Insurance with 14% and Tunde Hassan- Odukale of Leadway Assurance with 11% media exposure.
Investors King could recall that Mr. Adesola Adeduntan was appointed as the CEO of First Bank of Nigeria by the central bank in April 2021 to stabilise the bank after a brief controversy.
Adeduntan has since been repositioning the bank. It is not a surprise that First Bank has now generated enough public interest which includes the purchase of a majority stake in the bank by one of the foremost Nigerian billionaires, Femi Otedola.
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