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Banking Sector

Standard Bank Unveils Climate Policy, Sets Out Targets To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Standard Bank to raise 300 billion or $20 billion by 2026 to finance renewable energy projects.

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As part of plans towards achieving net zero carbon emissions, the Standard Bank Group has published its climate policy, setting out progressive short, medium, and long-term targets to accelerate its sustainable finance commitments, with a focus on renewable energy projects across Africa.

Africa’s largest bank by assets, Standard Bank Group Limited is planning to raise about 300 billion Rand or $20 billion by 2026 to fund renewable projects, disclosed Sim Tshabalala Chief Executive Officer Standard Bank Group.

The group pledged to achieve a net zero carbon emission’s target in its own operations by 2040 and from its portfolio of financed emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

The company, in a statement on its website, noted that it is substantially increasing support for the financing of renewable energy and the use of sustainable finance instruments. It added that the company plans to reduce group advances to upstream oil by 5% by 2030 and as well, limit exposure to thermal coal to 0.7% of group loans and advances in 2021 and to 0.5% by 2030.

“As Africa’s largest bank by assets, not only do we feel strongly compelled to act responsibly, but we also understand that we can make a significant positive impact.

“To achieve our purpose to drive Africa’s growth, our core business activities are being directed towards solving Africa’s development challenges and maximising opportunities for sustainable and inclusive growth, while also managing the risks posed by climate change,” Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group said.

“Having said that, our long-term goal is clear. The Standard Bank Group will achieve a portfolio mix that is net zero by 2050. That will entail reducing our financed emissions and simultaneously scaling up our financing of renewables, reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, decarbonisation and transition technologies, and supporting the development of credible carbon offset programmes”, Tshabalala added.

The group added that it will partner with clients and stakeholders to support their transitions and the national climate commitments of the countries in which the Group conducts business. According to the group, climate targets and commitments will also be set in additional sectors including insurance, residential and commercial property, and transportation over the next two to three years.

“In line with our values, we will be transparent in our decision-making, and we commit to annually report on our action plans and progress toward achieving our climate targets. We will also review our targets and commitments on a three-year cycle and in accordance with current climate science and aligned to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) principles”, Chief Executive: Corporate  and Investment Banking  at Standard Bank Group, Kenny Fihla said.

Meanwhile, the group resolved that there will be ‘no financing for new oil-fired power plant construction or expansion in the generating capacity of existing oil-fired power plants, except where such plants provide support services as part of an integrated renewable energy power plant’.

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Banking Sector

85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline

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First Bank

As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.

Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.

Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.

However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.

Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.

Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.

Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.

She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.

Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.

Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.

Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.

As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.

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Banking Sector

Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate

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In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.

This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.

The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.

The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.

The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.

The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.

Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.

The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank

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Femi Otedola

FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.

At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.

The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.

The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.

Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.

Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.

Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.

The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.

Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.

FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.

As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.

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