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Banking Sector

Islamic Finance: Move Towards Open Banking Set to Accelerate

Leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.

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Global Banking - Investors King

New research shows that most leading Islamic finance professionals expect the sector to move rapidly towards greater use of open banking over the next three years.

In the research conducted to support the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022 (GIFF2022), 90 per cent of Islamic finance professionals believe the adoption of open banking by financial institutions, Governments, fintechs and other stakeholders will increase by 2025, with nearly two out of five (38 per cent) expecting a dramatic rise in adoption.

Growth of open banking in Islamic finance will partly be driven by more and better regulations, the study also found. Almost a third (32 per cent) of Islamic finance professionals who were questioned predicted a dramatic increase in regulation, with another 59 per cent forecasting a slight increase in regulation.

The study found that Islamic finance professionals working across a wide range of sectors believe open banking will mean greater use of fintech innovations in Islamic finance such as Waqf, Zakat and Sadaqah. More than half (62 per cent) questioned, strongly agree open APIs will enable the platforms to access customer accounts in Islamic finance, with the result that customers can make contributions through the platforms. Another 30 per cent slightly agree.

Islamic finance professionals believe that the key benefit of open banking in the Islamic finance industry is to meet strong customer demand and offer more choice with the ability of banks to offer more innovative products. Other benefits include being able to manage the escalating costs of launching new digital services at scale and developing strategies to monetise customer data to generate new revenue streams. The growth of open banking will also enable institutions to meet regulatory requirements to provide higher transparency for reporting data.

Chief Executive Officer of Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia said,Increased adoption of open banking in Islamic finance brings a wide range of benefits to the sector and research shows Islamic finance professionals are expecting rapid developments in the sector over the next three years. There is a clear need for more and better regulation around open banking and open finance in Islamic finance, and that is recognised by Islamic finance professionals who are expecting strong progress.”

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

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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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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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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