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Banking Sector

Despite Economic Headwinds, FBN Holdings Grows Profit by 100% in 2021 Financial Year

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FBN Holdings Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has exceeded all expectations in the financial year ended December 31, 2021 as profit after tax jumped a whopping 100% to ₦151.1 billion.

The bank disclosed this in its audited financial statement obtained by Investors King.

Gross earnings grew by 28.2% to ₦757.3 billion, up from  ₦590.7 billion filed in the 2020 financial year. Operating income also inched higher by 35.5% in the year under review to ₦592.8 billion from ₦437.6 billion filed in the corresponding year of 2020.

As expected, operating expenses stood at ₦334.2 billion in 2021, representing an increase of 14.2% from ₦292.5 billion achieved in the 2020 financial year. The growth was broad-based as the lender’s profit before tax jumped 99.1% to ₦166.7 billion from ₦83.7 billion while profit after tax rose from ₦75.6 billion in 2020 to ₦151.1 billion in 2021, an increase of 99.9%.

Similarly, earnings per share improved by 70.2% to N4.17 from N2.45 in the same period of 2020.

However, interest income dipped by 4.1% from ₦384.8 billion in 2020 to ₦369 billion in 2021, largely due to the moderated interest rate environment that negatively dragged on yields.

Therefore, to mitigate the effect of the low-interest rate, FBN Holdings intensified deposit mobilisation and funding strategy that help enhance loan growth at optimised rates, leading to a 5.7% increase in interest expense to ₦140.8 billion from ₦133.2 billion in 2020. As a result, net interest income declined by 9.3% to ₦228.2 billion.

Conversely, non-interest revenue grew by 96.1% to ₦364.6 billion from ₦185.9 billion in 2020 on the back of increased fees and commission income, treasury activities and other operating income.

Commenting on the results, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank Group said: “Following years of strategic restructuring of the Bank’s balance sheet and operations, the Commercial Banking business is beginning to transition into a sustained growth phase delivering performance commensurate to the size of our business and capabilities of our people. Profit before tax is up 77.9%, gross earnings 30.3%, total assets 15.9% and customer deposits up 19.5%.

“This performance was driven by a relentless focus on the needs of customers and improving the competitiveness of our offerings. We have sharpened our ‘Go To Market’ approach to better leverage the opportunities which our large scale provides in addition to becoming more relevant to our clients by improving our value propositions.

“This performance is also in line with the Bank’s Quantum Profitability Leap agenda which seeks to ensure that we fully maximise the revenue generating capacity of our business to boost the bottom line and fulfil the expectations of all stakeholders in the business.

“The demonstrated resilience of our franchise to headwinds and excellent risk management capabilities place us in a good position to weather any macro-economic shocks which may arise due to the volatile nature of current operating environment. Our Non-performing loans ratio at the end of the year was 6.1% which represents significant progress towards those of other Tier 1 banks and the regulatory threshold of 5.0%.

“We will continue to leverage our investments in digital platforms, IT infrastructure, people, and pan-African operations to ensure this growth trend is sustained”.

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

FirstBank Launches Single-Digit Loan for Women-Owned Businesses, Reinforces its Role in Strengthening Gender Inclusion in Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced the launch of the FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan); a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

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In furtherance of its role in promoting female entrepreneurship across the country, Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced the launch of the FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan); a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

The FirstGem loan scheme is designed for female-owned or partnered SMEs  in the following sectors  Food/Beverage processing & Packaging, Beauty and cosmetics, Confectionaries, Catering & Restaurants, Transportation (Logistics) and Agric/Agro-Allied (retail value chain). With an interest rate of 9% per annum, FirstGem loan is a collateral-free loan that is available to the bank’s existing and prospective female customers. Based on eligibility, customers can access loans from N500,000.00 to N3,000,000.00.

To access the loan, Female owned or partnered SMEs can visit the Bank’s website – https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/personal/loans/more-financing-options/firstgem-funds/ – to download and fill out the Retail Loan Application Form. The completely filled form should be submitted to the nearest FirstBank branch with accompanying documents.

Speaking on the loan Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said, “we are delighted with the role our FirstGem product plays in creating an avenue to enlarge the business activities and endeavours of female entrepreneurs across the country. Our FirstGem value proposition offers real solutions to constraints encountered by female entrepreneurs and working professionals, as it exposes women to opportunities for the advancement of their business. We implore every female business-minded individual to take advantage of the FirstGem loan as it puts them at an advantage to contribute their quota to the national economy.”

Launched in 2016, FirstGem has been impactful in driving financial inclusion, influencing women’s empowerment through gender-advancement programmes like savings culture, financial literacy, wealth  management and building an investment portfolio. FirstGem is  designed specifically to meet the needs of the female gender, aged 18 years and above.

FirstGem  is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs or market women through an array of benefits such as free business advisory services, access to finance, specialized training on business development initiatives (virtual  and physicalevents),  regular insights on business / investment  opportunities. and mouth-watering discounts at partner merchant outlets (spas, salons, grocery stores) offering  lifestyle products and services.

Recently, FirstBank announced its partnership with CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance organisation to economically empower women-owned and led businesses as well as local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The facility, which is in the sum of US$100 million will have a minimum of 30% allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs. 

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Banking Sector

CBN Sets January 2023 Deadline for Financial Institutions to Strengthen Their Cyber Defenses

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday released the Risk-Based Cybersecurity Framework and Guidelines for Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), following the recent increase in the number and sophistication of cybersecurity threats against financial institutions.

The central bank has set January 1, 2023, as the effective date for full compliance with the provisions of the guidelines.

The bank said the directive became mandatory for institutions to strengthen their cyber defenses if they were to remain safe and sound.

The circular dated June 29, 2022, and signed by Nkiru Asiegbu, Director of OFIs Department, was addressed to all OFIs under the regulation of the banking sector regulator.

The apex bank added that the guidelines represented the minimum requirements to be put in place by all OFIs.

The regulator stressed that the safety and soundness of OFIs required that they operate in a safe and secure environment, hence the platform on which information is processed and transmitted should be managed in a way that ensures confidentially, integrity and availability of information as well as the avoidance of financial loss and reputation risks among others.

The CBN noted that considering the reliance of financial institutions on information and communications technology (ICT) to operate their business and the rising incidences of cyber threats and attacks targeted at financial institutions, it became necessary to implement cybersecurity measures to mitigate against those risks.

The bank specifically noted that threats including ransomware, targeted phishing attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) had become prevalent, demanding that financial institutions boost cyber resilience as well as take proactive steps to secure their critical information assets to ensure their safety and soundness.

The objective of the guidelines is to among other things create a safer and more secure cyber environment that supports information system security and promotes stability of the OFI sub-sector.

It also seeks to promote and maintain public trust and confidence in the sub-sector as well as contribute towards the prevention and combating of cybercrime in the OFI sub-sector.

Essentially, the framework provides a risk-based approach to managing cybersecurity risk and consists of six parts including Cybersecurity Governance, and Oversight, Cybersecurity Risk Management System, Cyber Resilience Assessment, Cybersecurity Operational Resilience, Cyber-Threat Intelligence and Metrics, Monitoring and Reporting.

The document also explained the roles of the board of directors in relation to cybersecurity as well as the appointment and responsibilities of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) among others.

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Banking Sector

Fitch Upgrades Fidelity Bank’s Issuer Default Rating from ‘B-‘ to ‘B’

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Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MDCEO of Fidelity Bank Plc

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Fidelity Bank Plc’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) from ‘B-‘ to ‘B’, reflecting the bank’s increased creditworthiness. The rating agency also upgraded Fidelity’s National Long-Term Rating to ‘A(nga)’ from ‘BBB+(nga)’.

According to the global rating agency, the upgrade is a result of the Bank’s improving business profile and resilient financial metrics. The agency added that the improved rating reflected the bank’s increased creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Nigeria, emphasizing that, “Fidelity’s Long- and Short-Term IDRs are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b’ ”.

The agency further stated that the VR reflects healthy asset quality, good business profile and reasonable capitalisation and liquidity. These are balanced against high sensitivity to Nigeria’s challenging operating environment as well as higher credit concentration as a percentage of equity and weaker profitability than larger domestic-rated peers.

Commenting on the upgraded rating, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, stated, “Receiving this upgrade at a time when the global economy is faced with a myriad of challenges, speaks to the strength of our business model, the efficacy of our risk management culture and the commitment of our staff towards creating sustainable value for all stakeholders.  As a bank, we will continue to execute our growth strategy in a prudent manner that allows us to take advantage of emerging opportunities in our various markets”.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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