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Wema Bank Announces N1bn Loan Support For SMEs

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Wema Bank- Investorsking

In a drive to promote clean energy, Wema Bank Plc has announced a N1 billion loan support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that desire to purchase clean and renewable energy solutions like solar panels, inverters, and batteries.

The bank noted that the loans will be availed in partnership with reputable renewable energy companies and service providers in Nigeria, adding that the partners shall offer after-sales services and a warranty of up to 2 years on the renewable energy products. 

Investors King understands that a higher percentage of businesses in the country, including SMEs, depend on fossil fuel for power to run their operations amidst poor power supply and the incessant collapse of the national grid.

Similarly, Nigeria currently produces less than 5000 megawatts of electricity for more than 200 million population and several thousands of businesses. Thereby, many homes and businesses rely on electricity generators. Consequently, the spike in the prices of fossil fuel products has hit many businesses hard.

Speaking on the initiative, the Divisional Head, Retail Business, Wema Bank Plc, Mr Dotun Ifebogun, noted that the renewable-energy-focused loans will provide relief to small and medium-sized enterprises across the country by cushioning the effect of the high cost of energy on their businesses.

He said, “we need to provide financial support to SMEs to encourage their roles as the engine rooms of the economy, by creating alternative power options at affordable rates and educating them on the benefits of alternative power in solar energy, to the environment”.

Furthermore, Mr Dotun Ifebogun disclosed that the loan initiative also reflects Wema Bank’s strategic goal of spearheading energy transition in Nigeria and helping businesses in the country to go green. 

He said, ” Amidst the devastating environmental havoc caused by fossil fuels around the world, the need for clean energy alternatives cannot be overemphasised. The widespread use of petrol and diesel generators by businesses and households in the country releases tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and causes environmental pollution.”

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Finance

ICPC Nabs Three Banks’ Officials, Security Guards For Flouting CBN’s New Notes Directives

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Retail banking

More startling discoveries have continued to rattle Nigeria’s banking sector following scarcity of the new naira notes.

In some parts of the country, some senior officials of commercial banks have been arrested for hoarding the newly redesigned currency of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Following bitter complaints from Nigerians, especially bank customers over paucity of the new cash, the Federal Government has directed anti-graft agencies to swoop on those frustrating Nigerians.

This situation has led to chaos and long queues at banks across the country.

In order to tame the menace, CBN officials and security operatives have been monitoring conducts of commercial bank management in the manner they dispense cash.

Operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said they discovered N258 million stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.

According to a statement by ICPC, the discovery followed one of the commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive of cash hoarding.

Explaining how the operation went, ICPC said when its officials visited the bank and discovered the stashed new naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.

The monitoring team said it found out that only the sum of N5 million each was distributed to various branches of Sterling Bank.

Signed by the ICPC spokesman, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the statement further revealed that the regional and service managers of the bank were apprehended but later granted administrative bail while further investigation would be carried out on the matter.

Also, a security guard of one of the banks was arrested for contributing to the chaos within the bank premises.

The ICPC said it also nabbed the Head of Operations, Keystone Bank, Mararaba in Nasarawa State for frustrating its customers at getting the new naira notes by hoarding the currency.

According to the anti-graft team, while on its routine operation, it found out that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at the branch were not dispensing to its customers while other bank customers were accessing only N1000 despite being given all the denominations by the CBN.

After the unscheduled visit to the bank, the commission disclosed that the ATMs started dispensing N5000 to non-customers and N10000 to its customers.

The team also revealed that it arrested one Abdulkareem Shaibu, a Security Guard with Zenith Bank, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, as well as Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar.

While Shaibu, the security guard, was arrested for being in possession of five ATM cards which he was using to collect money for different unknown persons who were not within the bank premises at that time, Adam and Umar were arrested in front of Zenith Bank, 1st Avenue Gwarimpa, for selling the new naira notes.

Relatedly, two officials of FCMB Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, Osun State were apprehended for assaulting officers of ICPC and CBN Cash Swap Monitoring Team.

Investors King reports that these fresh arrests came as Nigerians continue to rage over the cash crisis ravaging the country for weeks now.

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Banking Sector

CBN Threatens to Withdraw License of POS Operators That Charge High

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POS Business in Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to withdraw the license of any POS Operators found guilty of inflating charges beyond the approved amount.

Blaise Ijebor, Director of CBN Risk Management department made this known while speaking with journalists on efforts of the apex bank alongside state government on ensuring the availability of cash in circulation.

He emphasized that the approved charge for every N5,000 is N100, adding that charges beyond that by agents taking advantage of the situation would attract punitive measures.

According to him, the apex bank is not unaware that the POS agents are engaging in all sorts of practices that involve charging customers up to 30% of their money before making funds available.

He said, “We are monitoring the situation and anyone caught would have his or her license withdrawn and would not be in the business because we are going around with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“Customer should not be agitated; there is no need for any tension because your money is safe in the bank for now. Just get the little cash you need while using alternative means available to make payment”

He also disclose that the CBN disbursed over N1 billion to banks between Sunday and Tuesday to ease withdrawal tension. Meanwhile, it appears the tension has failed to die down in spite of this as POS operators continues to charge above the required amount and cash remains scarce across states.

Investors King can confirm that agents still charge as high as N500 and above for withdrawals on N5000, and N1,000 on N10,000 at various locations as of the time of this report.

Despite the CBN’s claim of disbursing enough money to banks, Nigerians have continued to lament unavailable cash at the ATM stands, banks and POS, yet election date is around the corner.

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Banking Sector

Sterling Bank’s PAT Hit N18.6 Billion in 2022

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Sterling Bank - Investors King

Sterling Bank Plc increased its Profit After Tax for the year 2022 by 38% to N18.6 billion compared to the N13.5 billion filed in the previous year.

The bank’s interest income improved to N128 billion in 2022 compared to the N111 billion recorded in the previous year as deposits from banks, customers and other borrowed funds increased for the period, Investors King reports.

Interest expense also improved to N52 billion compared to the N45 billion in the previous year as deposits from banks and customers, as well as other borrowed funds, increased for the period while the net interest income stood at N76 billion from N66 billion in the previous year.

Net Fees and commission income amounted to N21 billion from N19 billion in the previous year. This is as Facility management fees, account maintenance fee, commissions and similar income all increased during the year – Although, Fees and commissions income reported excludes amount included in determining effective interest rate on financial assets that are not at fair value through profit or loss.

Similarly, net trading income rose on the back of Bonds while Treasury bills and foreign exchange trading saw a decline. The banks also saw foreign exchange revaluation loss for the period.

Important to note is the fact that foreign exchange trading income includes gains and losses from the spot and forward contracts and other currency derivatives while other foreign exchange differences arising on non-trading activities are presented as foreign exchange revaluation loss.

Other operating income at N11 billion from N6 billion was driven by other sundry income, Cash recoveries on previously written-off accounts and other items including income on FX forward discounting, Mudaraba Commodity Income among others.

The bank reported a credit loss expense on financial assets to the tune of N8.5 billion in 2022 compared to N9.8 billion in 2021. This is as impairment charges on loans and contingents, other assets, and investment securities declined for the period, hence the net operating income after impairment stood at N107 billion from N87 billion in the previous year.

Total expenses improved to reach N87 billion compared to the N73 billion the previous year as the bank saw improvement in its personnel expenses, other operating expenses, general and administrative expenses and other property, plant and equipment costs.

Profit before tax stood at N20 billion from N14 billion the previous year while earnings per share was 65 kobo compared to N47 kobo in previous year.

 

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