The South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association, known as SEAMATA has sent a cry for help to the Central Bank of Nigeria over multiple, indiscriminate charges and deductions slapped on them by their commercial banks.
SEAMATA is the umbrella association of all traders in every market in the South East geo-political zone of the country, as well as traders of the South East extraction conducting business across the country and in the diaspora.
The association said this in an open letter which they addressed to the Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele on Monday and made it available to newsmen in Enugu. The open letter was jointly signed by the President General of SEAMATA, Chief Gozie Akudolu and the Secretary of the association, Alex Okwudiri.
The statement reads: “we are directed to formally bring to your notice the indiscriminate act of financial oppression which our members and all depositors and operators of bank accounts experience on a daily basis from commercial banks through indiscriminate charges and deductions.”
The SEAMATA statement acknowledged that part of these banks’ responsibilities is to accept money deposits from customers and keep the deposited amounts safe, while also performing other transactions for and as directed by the customer through the various available bank instruments.
The statement also went ahead to say that majority of the transactions are the social responsibility of these banks, stating that the banks make deductions on every single transaction, from deposits to smaller things like confirmation of signature.
The association lauded the cashless economy policy of the apex bank, citing its benefits to its members as it helps to curb armed robbery attacks, which leads to loss of lives and properties. The association termed the commercial banks “sippers”, by virtue of their charges and deductions especially on online transactions.
The association mentioned that when an online transfer of funds is made, both the sender and recipient’s accounts are charged for sending and receiving the funds respectively, and charges are also slapped on SMS alerts which are not always received.
The SEAMATA statement pleaded with the CBN Governor to prevail on the banks to reduce or remove the charges and deductions.
Parallex Bank Limited Promises Limitless Possibilities
The latest entrant into the commercial banking industry in Nigeria, Parallex Bank has officially launched on Friday, January 14, 2022, with the promise to redefine the banking landscape in Nigeria and Africa at large. The bank launch was graced by several dignitaries from both the private and public sector. Also in attendance were several celebrities who witnessed the unveiling of the bank’s logo.
Introducing the bank to the gathering at the bank’s headquarters in Victoria Island Lagos, the chairman of the bank, Dr. Adeola Phillips said Parallex Bank is here to make a unique statement about what innovation can do in an industry that is constantly reinventing. She further stated that the bank will operate broadly with a competitive mindset, to disrupt the market and delight customers with very attractive offers. The goal is to empower the banking public and to drive convenient and efficient commerce through the bank digital platforms. She added that the Parallex mobile app offers customers the freedom to do much more. The app will eliminate inconveniencies and hardships often faced by customers while carrying out transactions.
Corroborating the Chairman’s claims, the Managing Director of Parallex Bank, Mr. Olufemi Bakre, popularly known as Mayor, said the bank’s promise to its customers is to be an enabler of limitless banking. He established that Parallex Bank is the first bank in Nigeria to migrate from a microfinance bank to a commercial bank. He is convinced that Parallex Bank limited will achieve more as the bank partners with customers to explore more business opportunities.
Mr Olufemi said the vision of Parallex Bank is to be the preferred financial solution provider redefining customer experience through innovation. He assured customers of excellent banking products and services stating that the bank offerings are designed to address the yearnings of Nigerians. With a strong ecosystem anchored around the customer, Mr Femi informed the guests that the bank has a robust product portfolio that is customer focused, innovative and simple.
According to him, the Parallex mobile app has unique features and benefits that are quite rare in this market. On the app, customers can choose to create their unique account numbers, increase their transfer limits, make five free transfers per day to any bank in Nigeria. They can request for free debit cards, which will be delivered to them for free. They will receive prompt responses to enquiries.
Beyond the app, Mayor added that customers will enjoy zero maintenance fees while current account holders will further enjoy up to 5% interest rate provided, they maintain a minimum average balance of N100,000.
Stanbic IBTC Seeks Approval to Establish a Fintech Subsidiary
In a bid to cut costs and turn around its declining profitability, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has announced plans to seek regulatory approval for the establishment of a Fintech subsidiary.
This is coming a few days after Standard Chartered Bank announced it was shutting down 50 percent of its Nigerian branches in a move to digitalise operations and reduce operating costs.
According to Stanbic IBTC, the new fintech company will operate as a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) upon regulatory approvals, including licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc reported a 40 percent decline in profit in the first nine months of 2021, its lowest in four years. Profit after tax dropped from N66.2 Billion reported in 2020 to N39.9 billion in 2021. Profit before tax also dipped by 41 percent from N76.9 billion in 2020 to N45.3 billion in 2021.
Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC, who commented on the bank’s performance and plans for the future in October 2021, hinted at the bank’s plans to go digital and restructure some of its key units.
He said “in line with our core value of delivering value to our shareholders, the restructuring will advance the execution of our digital business transformation and enable us to achieve accelerated future readiness for the business and growth through effective mining of the client ecosystems propelled by a future-ready workforce. We continue to make progress in supporting the financial needs of our communities in the third quarter of 2021. Investing to advance tree planting exercise, youth, and women empowerment through donations, sponsorships and partnerships, library upgrade and renovation, hospital unit refurbishment, amongst others.”
As expected, using financial technology to deliver banking services would help Stanbic access the unbanked population, improve quality of service, enhance delivery and most importantly cut costs across the board.
FirstBank Holds 2022 Economic Outlook Webinar
First Bank of Nigeria Limited is set to hold its ‘Nigerian Economic Outlook Webinar’ which is aimed at reflecting on national and global economic trends that shaped 2021, and predicting the economic outlook of 2022.
According to a statement from the bank, the virtual event themed ‘A rearview look at 2021, lessons learnt – Outlook 2022’ would set the tone for the year by providing an opportunity for participants to learn directly from economic experts.
With Nigeria’s economy projected to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2022 as predicted by the International Monetary Fund, based on an expected recovery in crude oil prices and production, Nigeria will see economic activities normalising.
“Key economic activities to watch out for in 2022 include the global market trends, removal of subsidies, and floatation of the naira. However, recoveries in the oil sector and maximisation of the e-Naira could help keep the parallel market in check”, the statement reads.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane is the keynote speaker of the event while other speakers include the Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, First Bank of Nigeria, Ini Ebong.
According to the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications of FirstBank, Ms Folake Ani-Mumuney, the bank’s commitment to nation-building is anchored partly on its thought leadership role designed to relentlessly drive growth and scale for all through engagements that showcase versatile subject matter experts endowed with expertise, knowledge and valuable insights.
She noted that the webinar provides a platform for cross fertilisation of ideas and opportunities to learn and grow.
This webinar essential as it is coming at a time the World Bank projected the global growth to decelerate markedly from 5.5 percent in 2021 to 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023, no thanks to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant which is one of the major indices.
Recall that Investors King, in its report on Wednesday, revealed that growth is expected to drop from 6.3 percent in 2021 to 4.6 percent in 2022 and 4.4 percent in emerging and developing economies in 2023. Also, for Sub-Saharan Africa, growth is forecast to accelerate slightly to 3.6% in 2022 and rise further to 3.8% in 2023 while growth in advanced economies is expected to decline from 5 percent in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2022 and 2.3 percent in 2023.
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