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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Emerges Nigeria’s Best Bank for Third Consecutive Year in the Global Finance Best Banks Awards 2022

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Zenith Bank AGM 2021

Zenith Bank Plc has emerged as the Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance Magazine’s Best Banks Awards 2022, retaining the award for a third consecutive year. The Bank was among other banks from 36 countries in Africa recognised as the prestigious Global Finance announced its 29th Annual Best Bank Awards Winners.

The editors of Global Finance made the selections after extensive consultations with corporate financial executives, bankers and banking consultants, and analysts worldwide. Global Finance considered factors that ranged from the quantitative objective to the informed subjective in selecting the top banks. Objective criteria considered included: growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and innovation in products. Subjective criteria included the opinions of equity analysts, credit rating analysts, banking consultants and others involved in the industry.

Commenting on the award, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu said: “This award is a testament to our tenacity despite a very challenging macroeconomic environment. Indeed, being recognised, for the third consecutive year, is an acknowledgement of the resilience of the Zenith brand as the leading financial institution in Nigeria.” He lauded the contributions and efforts of the Bank’s key stakeholders – the Founder and Chairman, Jim Ovia, CON, for his pioneering role in building the structures and laying the foundation for an enduring and successful institution, the Board for the outstanding leadership they provide, the staff for their commitment and dedication as well as the Bank’s customers for their unwavering loyalty and support.

Global Finance’s “Best Banks Awards” are recognised amongst the world’s most influential banking/finance and corporate professionals as the most coveted and credible awards in the banking industry, with winners chosen in 150 countries and territories across Africa, AsiaPacific, the Caribbean, Central America, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.

Founded in 1987, Global Finance regularly selects the top performers among banks and other financial services providers, and the awards have become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community. Joseph D. Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance, said: “With the financial world in a state of turmoil from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, corporate leaders face a new set of challenges concerning the choice of their banking relationships.” According to him, “following on the enormous difficulties wrought by the pandemic, these changes demand increased attention to global commercial relationships. Our awards support decision-makers in selecting the best financial partners.”

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has earned the brand numerous awards, including being voted as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. Also, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

Similarly, Zenith Bank was honoured as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020 and emerged winner in four categories at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021, 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.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

CBN Issues Directive For Open Banking to Improve Financial Services

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Central Bank

In an effort to stimulate innovation and widen the range of financial products and services available to banks’ customers, the apex regulatory bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has established the legal framework for Open Banking in Nigeria.

This was revealed in a circular titled ‘Operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria’ which was obtained by Investors King.

The Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, according to the CBN, establishes standards for data sharing across the banking and payments systems in order to stimulate innovation and expand the range of financial products and services available to bank customers.

According to the CBN, the financial sector data guideline would allow clients to access innovative financial products and services.

The Apex bank said: “Open banking recognises the ownership and control of data by customers of financial and non-financial services, and their right to grant authorisations to service providers to access innovative financial products and services. This is anticipated to drive competition and improve access to banking and payments services”.

The CBN also added that participants in open banking shall adhere strictly to security standards when accessing and storing data, and shall be subject to minimum privacy standards, operational standards, risk management standards and customer experience standards as prescribed by the Bank.

According to the CBN, any organization with customer data that may be transferred with other businesses in order to deliver innovative financial services within Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Open Banking ecosystem.

Open banking is a banking practice in which banks and non-bank financial organizations provide third-party financial service providers open access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data via application programming interfaces (APIs).

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Banking Sector

FY 2021: Unity Bank Grosses N50.28bn in Earnings and N3.33bn in Profit

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Unity bank - Investors King

Unity Bank Plc has declared a profit before tax of N3.33 billion in the financial year ended December 2021, indicating a 49.9 percent increase from the N2.22 billion it recorded in 2020.

Similarly, a review of the lender’s 2021 full-year result filed with the Nigeria Exchange Group showed a significant improvement in its bottom line as Profit after tax rose by 52.1 percent to N3.17 billion from N2.09 recorded in the corresponding period of 2021.

The bank also grew gross earnings, rising by 8.1 percent to N50.28 billion from N46.52 billion in 2021.
This comes on the heels of a faster than expected recovery from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided an opportunity for the lender to expand its retail footprint through strategic product offerings that appealed to broader segments of the market.

Another key highlight of the agribusiness-focused lender’s financial performance is the growth of its assets, which rose by 9.5 percent to close at N538.87 billion from N482.02 billion in 2020, cumulating three years of consecutive high growth.

Equally, the Bank grew assets by 39 percent and 67.9 percent in 2019 and 2020 respectively to see a rebound with an even greater resurgence in the lender’s profitability for two successive years.

Also, in the year under review, the lender grew its loan portfolio significantly, increasing by 33.2 percent to N269.27 billion from N202.08 billion, following the Bank’s aggressive focus on boosting its liquid assets base.

Another top-line performance of the audited financial statements recorded was growth in the lender’s net operating income, which rose to N28.41 billion from N21.3 billion in the corresponding period of 2020, representing a 10.9 per cent increase. This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump by 12.2 percent to N20.05 billion from N17.74 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. Earnings per Share closed at 27.15 Kobo.

Commenting on the result, the Managing Director/CEO, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, stated that the key performance indicators have continued on a trajectory of healthy balance sheet growth, asset quality and profitability achieved on the back of deft diversification of the Bank’s earnings base that balances out fairly in asset creation, investments and trade activities and riding on the innovative customer-centric product offerings for both the retail and consumer segments of the market.

She shared the optimism that given the increased focus of the Bank on growing its retail footprints supported by significant investment being made in technology to expand its digital banking space, the growing contribution of the channels and platforms delivery will further boost the multiple streams of income in the coming years.

She further stated, “the Bank’s growing profile in Agribusiness has now placed it on a pedestal that enables it to attract significant value chain businesses for the continuous growth of its Retail and SME Banking whilst the Bank consistently deploys product development/marketing initiatives to further grow the brand franchise, maximise the benefits and boost retail growth to double digits”.

Overall, positive sentiments around the repositioning of the Bank and the outcome continue to dominate opinion among analysts as informed by the outlook for the future and as market confidence continues to improve.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Goes Beyond Banking, Reiterates Commitment To Healthcare Via Pharmacy Credit Facility, Hospital Loans

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FirstBank New Website - Investors King

Just like the words of Anne Wilson Schaefer, good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.

 

For over 128 years now, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has continued to positively impact the lives of its customers in all aspects, healthcare inclusive. In furtherance of its contribution to the health sector, especially in recent times of being amongst the corporate frontrunners in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic, FirstBank, notably known as Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion service provider, recently joined the global community to commemorate the 2022 World Health Day. 

 

World Health Day is a global health awareness day commemorated every year on the 7th of April to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. The global body uses the opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.

 

Themed ‘Our planet, our health’, the 2022 edition is aimed at focusing global attention on the urgent actions needed to “keep humans and the planet healthy.”

 

The Bank’s impact on the health sector in Nigeria has been achieved through a variety of products specifically designed to meet the operational needs of practitioners and players in the health sector of the country. These products include: Pharmacy Credit Facility, Private Hospital Loan and Diagnostic Centre Loan.

 

According to the bank, the Pharmacy Credit Facility scheme targets indigenously owned Pharmaceutical shops. These shops have to be either owned or managed by Pharmacists who have valid operating licenses as pharmacists, possess valid premises licenses, and are registered members of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria.

 

They are also expected to have been in existence for not less than 2 years. The purpose of the facility shall be for stock replacement purposes or working capital requirements. Also, all payments for the purchase of products will be made directly to the suppliers of the Pharmaceutical Shop. 

 

On the other hand, the Private Hospital Loan provides a facility for indigenously owned private hospitals that are registered with a reputable HMO and have operated for a minimum of 5 years. The purpose of the facility shall be for working capital requirements of running the hospital or for procurement of equipment required for the day to day operations of the Hospital.

 

Also, the Diagnostic Centre Loan offers the facility for indigenously owned diagnostic centres that are registered with a reputable HMO and have operated for a minimum of 5 years. The purpose of the facility shall be for working capital requirements of running the diagnostic centre or for procurement of equipment required for their day to day operations. 

 

Remarkably, the bank has been at the forefront when it comes to healthcare financing, leading its counterparts in the financial space. In the 2021 financial year, the bank disbursed a total of 2,931,070,000 in health financing.

 

From the year 2021 to date, the bank has disbursed a total of N5,657,999,000 in health financing, distributed strategically across pharmacies, hospitals and diagnostic centres.

 

Also worthy of note is the bank’s contribution towards Covid-19 awareness via its digital campaign, “Mask Up, Stay Safe”, which kicked off on 7th December 2020.

 

In that same 2020, Nigeria’s healthcare workers were not left out in the bank’s generosity, as all staff of FirstBank transformed the social media world and got many Nigerians to do the same, through their various Profile or Display Pictures, using unique photo messages dedicated to healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic on the frontlines, with the hashtag #FirstBankSalutes.

 

In addition to this, a lot of philanthropists and organizations, including the bank itself, also donated various sums and healthcare equipment, beefing up the needed arsenal to combat the pandemic.

 

The bank, amongst many activities, stood tall, while also playing an active role in the public-private sector-driven initiatives which were contributory to combatting the coronavirus.

 

The bank had earlier emerged winner of the AfriSAFE Financial Sector Award 2019 for exemplary contribution to the improvement of health, safety, environment and well-being in Africa at the Africa Safety Award for Excellence.

 

First Bank of Nigeria Limited operates as a parent company in Nigeria, with subsidiaries ‘FBNBank’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal; FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris. The Bank also has a representative office in Beijing, China.

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