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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

FirstBank Commemorates 2022 International Youth Day, Dedicating the Week to Celebrating the Youth

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022.

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022 and themed “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.” 

The International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. The Day also amplifies the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind.

Leading up to the day, the Bank dedicated the week of 8 – 12 August with a lineup of activities to reiterate its commitment to Youth Empowerment.

As a Bank renowned for its role in developing the economy through sustainable employment and entrepreneurship endeavours, the 2022 edition of the Youth Week will promote economic empowerment and employment, digital technology, and education as its focus during the celebration.

The Youth Week comprises various activities, including a Fashion illustration workshop, Design skill training, Gen Z/Millennial Webinar and many more exciting activities. These activities would give participants opportunities to win various exciting gift items.

Under the First@arts program, the Bank will empower the youths through Artistry Workshop Sessions & Arts Classes. Interested in the art of fashion design and illustrations, visit the Bank’s social media handles – Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr – for information on how you can be among 10 lucky winners to have the opportunity to learn the business of fashion at Claire Idera fashion studio.

Likewise, the Creative design workshop will enable youths design skill training; design thinking principles and their application in the context of layout, typefaces and colour. Interested youths can also participate on the FirstBank social media handles, where 25 lucky winners will be selected to learn the Art of Design at Geneza School of Designs.

Commemorating the Youth Week, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank said: ‘’We remain committed to celebrating the younger demography whose voices, actions, vigour, and tireless participation in the political, economic, and social activities have continued to birth major contributions towards the sustainable development of Africa and the world at large. The planned activities will promote better collaboration and solidarity across generations to foster successful and equitable relationships, and partnerships thereby ensuring “no one is left behind” and empowering everyone to leverage their full potential toward achieving the much-desired Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This Youth demography has a striking significance for us at FirstBank with the Millennials and Gen Zs constituting almost 60% of our workforce. This shows that youths are an integral part of our organisation and every country where we operate”, he concluded.

For more information and participation in the Youth Week, kindly visit the bank’s verified social media platforms; Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Reports 49% Increase in Profit in H1 2022

FBN Holdings Plc has reported a 48.9% increase in profit after tax for the first half (H1) of 2022.

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Nnamdi Okonkwo

FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, has reported a 48.9% increase in profit after tax for the first half (H1) of 2022.

The financial services provider announced gross earnings of N359.2 billion for the period under review, an increase of 22.4% when compared to the N293.4 billion recorded in the first half of 2021.

Interest income jumped 40.6% from N161 billion achieved in H1 2021 to N226.4 billion. While the Group’s net interest income rose a whopping 47.3% to N152.9 billion, up from N103.8 billion in H1 2021.

Non-interest income remained largely unchanged at N120.6 billion, a 0.2% decline from N120.9 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2021.

FBN Holdings’ operating income expanded by 21.7% to N273.5 billion from N224.7 billion in H1 2021. The lender’s impairment charges improved by 18.7% to N21.7 billion, down from N26.7 billion in the same period of 2021.

As expected, operating expenses inched higher to N186 billion from N152.6 billion recorded in H1 2021. Profit before tax stood at N65.7 billion a 45.3% increase from N45.2 billion filed in H1 2021.

The total profit realised for the period grew by 48.6% from N38.1 billion in H1 2021 to N56.5 billion in H1 2022.

Earnings per share also rose 48% to N1.55 from N1.05.

Speaking on the group performance, Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Group Managing Director said “FBNHoldings continues to demonstrate resilient performance despite the challenging operating environment with an impressive improvement in revenue and profitability. For the half year 2022, gross earnings and profit before tax grew by 22% y-o-y and 45% y-o-y to N359.2 billion and N65.7 billion respectively. Furthermore, we continue to see good progress across our performance metrics, which remain in line with our focus on driving sustainable growth.

“The Group remains committed in its transformation drive, which has resulted in stronger balance sheet and better asset quality with non-performing loans closing at 5.4% at H1 2022. Similarly, risk management capability remains robust across the Group supporting the drive for enhanced earnings for sustainable capital accretion.

“During the period, cost to income ratio remained flat y-o-y despite the inflationary and currency pressure, as we continue to focus on optimising overall efficiency.

“Our strategic intent remains unchanged in optimising opportunities that drive growth in revenue, profitability, capital accretion and overall operational efficiency that delivers sustainable value to our stakeholders.”

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Banking Sector

FirstBank’s Firstmonie Agents Processed Over N22 Trillion in Transaction Value

FirstMonie Agents have processed over N22 trillion in combined transaction value.

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Nigeria’s leading financial services provider, FirstBank of Nigeria Limited on Thursday said its fast-growing agent banking network, Firstmonie Agents, has collectively processed over N22 trillion in transaction value.

The lender, which announced a profit after tax of N53.3 billion in the first half of the year, said Firstmonie Agents processed transaction volume in excess of 1 billion across all its 180,000 agents that operate in 772 local governments.

In an effort to bring financial services to the unbanked and underbanked segment of the Nigerian society, Firstmonie Agents was the first banking network to operate in all the local government areas, except the two local governments enmeshed in insecurity.

Since its launch, FirstMonie Agent Banking has been providing convenient banking services to Nigerians previously cut off from the financial system, playing a pivotal role in deepening financial inclusion and empowering existing businesses within the communities to deliver these services.

Popularly called ‘Human ATM’, Firstmonie Agents are empowered to reduce the reliance on over-the-counter transactions while providing convenient personalized services. Amongst the services carried out by the Agents include; Account Opening, Cash Deposit, Airtime Purchase, Bills Payment, Withdrawals and Money Transfer.

Through various empowerment and reward schemes implemented to put its Firstmonie Agents at an advantage to economically impact their immediate communities whilst importantly having their business sustained, the Bank’s Agent Banking scheme has remained a toast to Nigerians, irrespective of where they are in the country. Amongst these schemes is the Agent Credit – launched in 2020 – which has had the Bank provide credit facilities to the tune of 238 billion naira to its teeming Firstmonie Agents.

Commenting on the milestone, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said “since the relaunch of our Agent Banking scheme in 2018, our Firstmonie Agents have played a vital role in bridging the financial inclusion gap in the country, as many more people have been able to undertake various financial and business transactions in cost-effective ways, thereby saving a lot of time and money in travelling over long distances for basic banking services.“

“We are delighted by the giant strides of our Firstmonie Agents in promoting financial inclusion and commend them for their efforts in taking banking to the doorsteps of Nigerians – irrespective of where they are – in a very effective way”, he concluded.

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