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Banking Sector

Jubilation as Court Orders CBN, NDIC to Pay Bank Workers N5.7 Billion

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First Bank

Jubilation erupts as the bank representatives received a judgment in their favour as the National Industrial Court ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7bn terminal benefits to over 1,000 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.

The court ordered the CBN and NDIC to pay the money within three months, starting from the day the judgment was issued, and will start attracting 10 percent interest thereafter.

While delivering the judgment on Monday, Justice Paul Bassi ordered the two bodies to pay another N10m as general damages to the claimants.

Justice Bassi overlooked the earlier objections raised by the defendants and while the two parties, CBN and NDIC have acted in the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, and should not be affected to the detriment of the former employees, Investors King observed. 

According to a media report, “By revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paid their benefits at the end.

The banking institutions have been in the tussle with one another since the consolidation exercise of 2006 that led banks to recapitalise from N2bn to N25bn.

The banks did not meet the expected requirement for the recapitalisation requirements and their banking licenses were revoked by the apex which later placed the NDIC as the liquidator. This led the bank workers to sue the two organisations while they demanded their terminal benefits. 

The two defendants objected to different issues saying that they “were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.”

Over one thousand people had approached the court since 2018.

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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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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

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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