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$20 International Spending Limits Hurting Nigerian Small Businesses

Nigerians have not been able to use their naira debit cards to make any foreign transactions of more than 20 dollars in a month

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naira cards - Investors King

Over the past few months, Nigerians have not been able to use their naira debit cards to make any foreign transactions of more than 20 dollars in a month.

This reduction which started two years ago was from $500 to $300, then to $100 and now $20. 

The reduction was a result of foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) decision to stop the sales of foreign currency to commercial banks. 

At the 364th Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja in 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank will stop supplying foreign currency to Deposit Money Bank (DMBs) otherwise known as commercial banks by the end of the year.  He, therefore, urges them to source for their foreign exchange from export proceeds. 

Around February this year, the United Bank of Africa (UBA) notified its customers of the new set international spending limit of $20 on Naira cards. Virtual all banks in Nigeria have since followed suit. 

Investors King gathered that the downward review of the dollar transaction limit on Naira debit cards is affecting many small businesses and service providers. 

Many small technology business companies are having difficulty paying for subscriptions. A few of them have resorted to either buying virtual dollars at unofficial rates or opening a domiciliary account, which also cost the same as unofficial rates. 

Cloud engineers also have similar problems. According to a software engineer, Ola Emmanuel, he stated that “Owing to the restrictions on dollar spending in Nigeria, it’s hard to pay for various utilities online. Some of these include paying for domain purchases and new software, as well as recurring bills. It’s also hard to buy a gadget from an international website due to the restrictions”.

As the scarcity of foreign exchange persists, small businesses will have to rely on other expensive alternatives to meet their dollar obligations, a situation that would further affect their expenses.

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Collaborates With SMEDAN, Seeks to Enhance SMEs Access to Fund

Fidelity Bank has partnered with the Small And Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) to bridge the funding gap in small businesses in Nigeria

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fidelity bank - Investors King

Nigerian commercial bank, Fidelity Bank has partnered with the Small And Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) to bridge the funding gap in small businesses in Nigeria.

At a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony recently held in Lagos, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity bank Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe who was represented by Executive Director, Lagos and South-West Dr. Ken Opara, disclosed that the partnership with SMEDAN reinforces the fact that the bank is a leading supporter of SMEs in Nigeria.

Her words, “For us at Fidelity Bank, supporting SMEs is in our DNA and for more than two decades, we have been creating multiple platforms to help them thrive.

“These include the numerous products we have pioneered, our collaboration with the Lagos Business School to host the Export Management Programme, the Fidelity SME Academy, and our weekly SME Forum radio program successful business owners and SMEDAN share tips on running thriving ventures with listeners.

“This partnership is therefore another step in our journey of helping entrepreneurs grow and compete favorably in any market they operate and we are very happy to have SMEDAN join us.”

Also, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya expressed gratitude to Fidelity Bank for facilitating the partnership, emphasizing that the MOU was particularly significant not just to the Agency but to the MSMEs ecosystem.

He said, “Fidelity Bank is one of the few commercial banks in Nigeria that have shown immense interest in providing support to the large MSME community. I am very aware of some of your products purposely designed to serve the MSMEs.

“This explains why the Agency is very excited entering into this relationship that we believe will help change the narratives of the sub-sector”.

Knowing that SMEs are the backbone of any economy, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has on several occasions launched different initiatives for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to help boost sales and enhance capacity building.

On the other hand, Fidelity Bank has continued to play a pivotal role in the development of SMEs in the country by offering numerous support through partnerships with different firms and agencies.

It should be recalled that in June 2022, Investors King reported that Fidelity bank partnered with impactHER a non-profit organization, to empower 1,052 female entrepreneurs with sales skills in Nigeria.

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Banking Sector

Shareholders Approve Restructuring, Change of Name For Sterling Bank

Shareholders of Starling Bank have approved its conversion from a core banking business to a holding company like GTCO, Access Bank, FBN Holding, etc.

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Sterling Bank - Investors King

Shareholders of Starling Bank have approved its conversion from a core banking business to a holding company.

The shareholders also approved the bank’s proposed change of name to reflect its new businesses and core values.

Investors King learnt Sterling Bank will operate as a holding company with the name Sterling Financial Holding Company.

It should be recalled that at a meeting held last week, shareholders agreed to transfer their investment into Sterling Financial Holding Company which will enable the new company to venture into other sectors within financial services.

According to a statement released by the bank, shareholders believed that the decision to transform the lender bank into a holding company will enhance operations and pave the way to make the company a dominant force in the financial market. 

Under the new arrangement, shareholders will exchange their shares in the Bank for shares in HoldCo in the same proportion as their current holdings in the Bank. 

In addition, the new company, Sterling Financial Holding Company will be registered as a public company and Sterling Bank Plc will be delisted from the Daily Official List of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) while the new company (Sterling Financial Holding Company) will be listed in its stead. Sterling Bank will subsequently be a subsidiary which will be re-registered as a private limited liability company. 

Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Lagos, Sterling Bank operates within four areas of banking which include Retail and Consumer Banking, Commercial Banking, Institutional Banking and Corporate Banking. 

Chairman of Sterling Bank, Mr Asue Ighodalo explained that the transition into a holding company will enhance diversification into other permissible business lines,  thereby promoting growth and enriching shareholder value while it will also consolidate the financial strength of the group. 

Sterling bank will be joining a group of commercial banks such as United Bank of Africa (UBA), Access Bank, First Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) and others which have changed names to holding companies.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Partners Verve International, Makes Customers Millionaires in the FirstBank Verve Card Promo

FirstBank and Verve International has launched its third National Consumer promo designed to reward users of FirstBank verve card

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

In partnership with FirstBank – Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider – Verve International, Africa’s leading payment technology and card business, has launched its third National Consumer promo designed to reward users of FirstBank verve card with exciting gifts and cash prizes to appreciate their patronage and use of the card to carry-out their electronic banking transactions.

The ongoing 2-month promo will end on 30 October 2022 as 20 customers (10 customers per month) with the highest transaction count during the promo will be made millionaires, winning the sum of N1 million each. Also, N20,000 will be won by 25 customers monthly.

On the other hand, 2620 FirstBank verve cardholders that double their transactions every week, stand a chance to enjoy 10% cashback capped at N2,000 per customer.

Speaking on the promo Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, FirstBank said “we appreciate our partnership with Verve Card through the years; a partnership of empowerment and opportunities which include growing the economy, supporting new businesses and preventing unemployment. FirstBank verve card holders are encouraged to keep using their cards as it is a card offering that promotes safe, convenient and rewarding digital banking experience with 20 customers standing a chance to be millionaires at the end of the promo.”

Verve card is a secure debit card that allows cardholders to conveniently meet their daily financial needs such as payment for goods and services, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, etc. Verve card is accepted across all ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile Platforms in Nigeria.

The promo is also opened to new verve cardholders as non-verve cardholders are encouraged to visit the nearest FirstBank branch today to pick up a Verve card and start getting rewarded!

Only recently, FirstBank – in partnership with Verve – rewarded over 2601 FirstBank verve cardholders with various prizes; including N20,000 cash prize, N10,000 cash prize, N10,000 worth of airtime; power generating sets, refrigerator, cooking gas, smart TV and the grand prize of a brand-new car to a lucky winner.

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