FBNBank UK, a member of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Subsidiaries had London, the United Kingdom painted blue as it celebrated its 40th anniversary, themed Partnership Beyond Borders, on Friday, 11 November 2022.
The event which had customers, members of government functionaries and the diplomatic community, regulators, captains of industries in attendance, was convened to appreciate the patronage and support the Bank had received since it opened its doors in the United Kingdom 40 years ago. As key stakeholders, they were instrumental to establishing the Bank as an important gateway to connect international markets in Africa, Europe and the rest of the world to the finest financial services solutions that the UK has to offer.
Guests at the event include Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola GCON, Chief Justice of Nigeria; Oba Sen. Dr. Moshood Olalekan Ishola Balogun, Alliiwo II, Olubadan of Ibadan land; Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, High Commissioner, Nigerian High Commission, UK; His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, former Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.
Other dignitaries that graced the occasion include Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab, Nigerian businessman and former Chairman of FirstBank; Mohammed Indimi OFR, Chairman, Oriental Energy Resources.
Delivering his welcome address to the dignitaries and guests present, Sam Aiyere, Chief Executive Officer, FBN Bank UK Ltd said “since its establishment, our Bank has demonstrated an unmatched dexterity, serving as a gateway connecting international markets in Africa, Europe and the rest of the world to the finest financial services solution that the UK has to offer. Through its office in the UK and the Paris Branch, our Bank has continued to facilitate international trade between Africa and Europe while offering top-notch, world-class corporate, institutional, and private banking solutions to our esteemed customers.
We have recorded laudable achievement only because you stand solidly with us. Therefore, I dedicate the success of the past 40 years to all our stakeholders. Thank you for being the lever beneath our thrust”, he also added.
Appreciating the patronage and support extended to FBNBank UK, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said “today we celebrate 40 years of unbroken business operations in the United Kingdom; 40 years of supporting and enabling dreams; 40 years of resilience and relevance; 40 years of trust, safety and security; 40 years of long-term value to all stakeholders; and 40 years of partnerships beyond borders. I believe the future is bright for FBN Bank UK. With our beautiful outing tonight, our Group stands out, once again, as one big and happy family of many parts.
In his speech, Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria highlighted that “FBNBank UK’s established presence in a leading global financial centre such as London ensures that FirstBank Group is well positioned to play an active role in the promotion of Africa as an investment destination, attract much needed capital to the continent and facilitate trade with other parts of the world.
The presence of FirstBank in other countries outside Nigeria shows that the span of its impact is continent-wide. As you are headquartered in the largest economy on the continent, you have a unique role in also facilitating capital flows into other African countries and assisting their economic growth and development.
In addition, in his goodwill message, President Muhammedu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria said “FirstBank has profoundly demonstrated a high level of nationalism by keeping the Nigerian dream at the heart of its business through constant evolution to birth agile financial services solution to suit the demands of its customers both home and abroad. Also, perhaps more than any other institution in its class, FirstBank has supported the Government by providing human resources at various times to booster much required professional expertise in various sectors of our economy.”
Established in the United Kingdom in 1982 as the London Branch of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited., FBNBank UK was initially established to service the UK banking requirements of Nigerian companies and FirstBank.
Later in November 2002, the Bank was incorporated in the UK as a registered and a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Limited with offices in the City of London and has then developed into a much broader business in the gateway to Europe and beyond for African banks, companies and high net worth individuals.
The Memory of Prof. Ibidapo-Obe Comes Alive as Zenith Bank Names Iconic Unilag Alumni Building in His Honour
The memory of Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, came alive as Zenith Bank Plc named the iconic building housing its Unilag Branch and the University of Lagos (Unilag) Alumni in his honour on Friday, November 25, 2022.
In his opening remarks at the commissioning ceremony, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of the Body of Banks’ CEOs in Nigeria, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, lauded the Founder and Chairman of the bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for being physically present at the commissioning of the building to honour the memory of his late friend, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who served on the board of Zenith Bank as a Non-Executive Director, and for his passion for youth education and digital learning.
He noted the remarkable and continued commitment of Jim Ovia, CFR, to education and youth development in Nigeria, especially through the setting up of James Hope College, a co-educational institution which offers a combination of British and Nigerian curricula, and the James Hope University, which is billed to commence academic activities next year. He also extolled his philanthropy through the setting up of the Jim Ovia Foundation and Mankind United in Total Support for Education Initiative, which has awarded scholarships and produced over 1500 graduates from among indigent people who would not have had the benefit of having a university education.
Onyeagwu also recalled how the bank’s partnership with the University of Lagos began in 2001 with the donation of the first ICT centre, when the Founder and Chairman was the Group Managing Director/ CEO of the bank. According to him, “Today, Zenith Bank has built not less than 15 ICT centres in various tertiary institutions and cities all over the country. And I just want to say that no single institution or individual has been able to accomplish what we have done in that respect. And this is a demonstration of the passion our Founder and Chairman has, not just for education, but also for digital learning and computer literacy. This is in addition to several other support to the university, including the institution of Academic Excellence Awards in 2001, where the best graduating students from selected departments – Banking & Finance, Business Administration, Economics and Accounting, receive awards with financial rewards (currently NGN500,000) and employment opportunity, and the donation of 3,500 tablets to enable indigent students of the university to learn online effectively in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic”. Onyeagwu noted that the building is a strong statement of Zenith Bank’s sustainability initiatives as a signatory to several global sustainability frameworks including the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, as it incorporates many of the elements that make a facility environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Speaking at the commissioning of the iconic building, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel noted the huge contributions of Zenith Bank and, in particular, Jim Ovia, CFR, a man he described as a father, to the development of Nigeria. In his words,” when you see things being done consistently in the right way, there is always a man pointing in that direction. A lot of people ask me how come you are doing so much in public service; I say I come from a background where my mentor told me that you don’t report efforts, you don’t give excuses, but you report results. So no matter the situation, even in the midst of an economic recession, in the midst of Covid, you should not stop development and performance. As far as you are from the Zenith family, you are expected to have that creativity and ideas that can make you produce results. In Zenith, we say only the paranoid survive. So I really want to appreciate what I am seeing here today”. Whilst thanking the alumni association and the school authority for their collaborative efforts towards achieving capacity development, which he described as the bane of Nigerian society, he expressed his delight and honour to commission a building named after the revered Late Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, who touched and impacted so many people while he was alive.
In his address, the National President of Unilag Alumni Association, Dr. John Momoh, thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank as well as the management of the bank for the magnificent building and Mrs. Sola Ibidapo-Obe for accepting the association’s request to name the building after her husband as a lasting legacy in his honour. He encouraged everyone to take good care of and maintain the building to serve the university community for years to come.
In her remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, acknowledged the invaluable contributions of Zenith Bank to the development of the school, promising to work with the Alumni association to ensure that the facility serves not only the Alumni but also the entire students populace. She thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for donating 3,500 tablets to the university, which ensured that students who could not afford laptops for e-learning during the covid-19 pandemic were not left behind.
In her remarks, the wife of the Late Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, Mrs. Sola Ibidapo-Obe, thanked the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, CFR, for immortalising her late husband with such a great edifice named after him. Recalling how close he was to her late husband, Mrs Ibidapo-Obe said: “You are my husband’s friend. Dr. Jim Ovia has demonstrated the love that does not die in his friendship with my beloved husband. When he fell ill, Dr. Jim Ovia was there from day one till the last moment. I could feel the way he felt. From then, I knew that he was a genuine friend. He tried his best to ensure my husband survived, but he did not”.
The iconic building, which sits on a total site area of 950m2, was constructed by a team of world-class builders who had the mandate of delivering the best quality possible. The iconic structure is a smart building that incorporates many of the elements that make a facility environmentally friendly and sustainable, including a grid-tie solar system that sustains power load on solar and not on a generator or national grid, an inverter-driven VRF air conditioning system and motion sensor lighting to enhance energy efficiency, perforated aluminium composite panels for natural lighting and ventilation, free Wi-Fi system to provide internet access for students, fire management systems, including fire hydrant, smoke detector, and fire alarm system, and a LED screen installed on the building for the dissemination of information. The iconic building will house the Unilag Branch of Zenith Bank Plc and the operations of Unilag Alumni. Of the total 1,665m2 of floor area designated for office use in the four-storey building, 585m2 will be used by Unilag Alumni.
Access Closa Agents: Access Bank Gifts Solar-Powered Kiosks to Agents
Access bank gives its “closa agents” solar-powered fiber kiosks to enhance operations
One of the leading Nigerian banks, Access bank has empowered its “closa agents” with solar-powered fiber kiosks to enhance service delivery and deepen financial inclusion.
The solar-powered kiosks will give closa agents more visibility, the leading financial institution claimed.
Access closa agents are authorised agents who perform banking transactions on behalf of Access bank. Access bank has more than 160,000 closa agents across the country, Investors King learnt.
The bank noted that its closa agent service is one of its plans to reach the unbanked and the under-banked millions of Nigerians in communities and cities
Access bank Senior Retail Advisory, Rob Giles noted that instead of walking long distances in search of a branch, Access bank customers can locate a closa agent near them by simply searching for ‘Access Closa Agent’ on Google Maps on their phone.
While speaking on the development, Access Bank Group Head of Agency Banking and Financial Inclusion Chizoba Iheme, disclosed that the bank’s closa agent network is one of the largest in the country and provides an easier and safer way to access financial services in Nigeria.
Chizoba added that customers can conveniently use any access closa Agent near them to pay bills and send money to loved ones.
He added that Access closa agents can also be used to deposit existing naira notes ahead of the deadline set by the central bank for the currency redesign.
It could be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria has set January 31, 2023, as the deadline for the old naira notes of N100, N200, N500 and N1000 to be withdrawn from circulation.
Requirements needed to register as a Closa Agent include a visible business location, a minimum working capital of N50,000, a utility bill, and any valid means of identification issued by the government.
Additionally, intending applicants can register as an individual or corporate body with evidence of registration.
While the process takes only a few days, intending applicants can walk into any branch of the access bank and fill out an application form with any of the aforementioned documents.
Spectacle as Zenith Bank Lights Up Ajose Adeogun Street for the Yuletide Season
It was a great spectacle to behold as the Christmas and Yuletide season came to life at the 2022 Zenith Bank Christmas Light-Up Ceremony, which was held at the Ajose Adeogun Street Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, November 19, 2022.
The official lighting ceremony, which was performed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, supported by Executive Management, was witnessed by many of the bank’s staff and customers, with others joining virtually.
With the theme “Let There Be Light”, this year marks the 16th edition of the Light-up Ceremony at the Ajose Adeogun Roundabout. The Light-Up event is an annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by the bank to herald the yuletide season through the beautification of Ajose Adeogun Street – home to Zenith Bank’s Corporate Headquarters – which has come to be recognised as an iconic place, attracting people from all walks of life who visit with their families and friends to take pictures and make videos of the wonderful spectacle, especially at night and enjoy the ambience of the street and season.
Speaking during the ceremony, Onyeagwu expressed his delight in heralding the yuletide season of 2022 through the iconic Ajose Adeogun Street lighting up. In his words, “today is a unique day. It is unique in the sense that we are going to turn on the Christmas light and activate the spirit of Christmas, which we usually have annually. It is also unique in the sense that we are honoured and delighted to have in our midst the wife of our Founder and Chairman, Mrs. Kay Ovia”.
He praised Quantum Markets, the company responsible for the annual decorations, for the outstanding, very creative and extremely beautiful work that they have done. According to him, “when you look at the Christmas set-up we have every year, it looks completely different, and there is no repetition of themes. And when we think we have seen it all, by the time a new one comes, it is something completely different and massively so. The one for this year, as I entered here, I was wondering if this is a theme park”.
Whilst urging everyone to imbibe the message and spirit of Christmas, which is about peace, love, forgiveness and above all, respect for humanity, Onyeagwu prayed for peace in every home, business and in the country and that this year’s celebration would be like no other that we have seen.
Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry as an institution committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive economy and promoting responsible business practices in Nigeria through integrating sustainability principles in its business operations.
The bank’s sustainability and CSR initiatives are hinged on the belief that today’s business performance is not all about the financial numbers – the bank believes that an institution’s social investments, contributions to inclusive economic growth and development as well as improvements in the condition of the physical environment, all constitute a balanced scorecard.
Through its CSR initiatives, Zenith Bank has embodied the overarching objective of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a framework for addressing the major challenges confronting society. Its social investments are targeted at health, education, women and youth empowerment, sports development and public infrastructure enhancement. Overall, Zenith Bank’s total CSR investment in 2021 was NGN4.37 billion, representing 1.79% of its Profit After Tax (PAT) and 33.1% increase from 2020.
The bank remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural and social development of host communities, particularly through community-based initiatives and philanthropy. As a good corporate citizen, it continues to deliver projects that have long-term social and economic benefits for the communities because it believes that its business is only as strong as the communities in which it operates.
To demonstrate its commitment to creating and expanding opportunities, the bank regularly makes donations towards setting up ultramodern ICT centres in several educational institutions and cities across the country. It also supports various developmental projects, and healthcare delivery causes in Nigeria and contributes to the development of sports in Nigeria through its sponsorship of the Zenith Women Basketball League and the Zenith Bank Delta State Principal’s and Headmaster’s Football Competitions, amongst others.
In recognition of its contributions and social investments to its host communities and the society at large, the bank was recognised at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021 as the “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.
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