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As Fidelity Bank Remains Investors’ Toast

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Fidelity Bank MD - Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

In an increasingly uncertain macroeconomic environment, Fidelity Bank Plc has remained appealing in the banking sector. This is evident in its full year 2022 financial results which showed a better-than-expected performance amid the headwinds in the economy.

Specifically, in the full year 2022 results, Fidelity Bank’s gross earnings increased to N337,050 billion as of December 31, 2022, significantly higher than the N250,776 billion recorded at the end of 2021. Also, Fidelity Bank’s Net Interest Income climbed to N152 billion in the year under review, up from N94.879 billion the previous year.

Also, its profit before income tax stood at N53.677 billion in the year under review, higher than N25.215 billion the previous year. Fidelity Bank’s profit after tax for the year under review stood at N46.724 billion, higher than the N23.104 billion it realised in 2021. Additionally, its total assets increased to N3.989 trillion in 2022, up from N3.278 trillion in 2021.

While its loans and advances to customers in the year under review stood at N2.116 trillion in the year under review, up from N1.658 trillion the previous year, customers’ deposits grew to N2.580 trillion, higher than N2.024 trillion the previous year.

Owing to this, the Board of Directors of the bank have proposed a final dividend of 40 kobo per share which in addition to the 10 kobo per share earlier declared as interim dividend amounts to N0.50 per Ordinary Share of 50 kobo (2021:  Dividend of N0.35 per Ordinary Share of 50 kobo each amounting to N10,136,904,992.20) from the retained earnings account as of 31 December 2022.

On the back of an impressive first half 2022 results, Fidelity Bank had declared an interim dividend payment of 10 Kobo per 50 Kobo ordinary share, subject to appropriate withholding tax, to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on September 12, 2022. The interim dividend payment was the first in the bank’s 34 years history. Fidelity Bank had reported a remarkable 21.6 per cent growth in its half-year 2022 profit to N25.1 billion.

Since she assumed the position of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc in 2021, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe has made it clear that her target is to deliver a financial institution that meets all stakeholders’ expectations, even as she continues to push the bank to rise to be among the tier-one banks in the country.

In August 2022, Fidelity Bank intimated the public of its proposed acquisition of Union Bank United Kingdom as part of its expansion plans and in line with regulatory stipulations. The bank’s plans to acquire a 100 per cent stake in Union Bank UK marked its first foray into the international market.

Commenting on the transaction, Onyeali-Ikpe stated, “This transaction aligns with our strategic plan of expanding our service touchpoints beyond the Nigerian market and providing straight-through services that meet and exceed the needs of our growing clients.”

Indeed, the Nigerian banking sector is evolving, with the changes being driven by competition, accelerated adoption of technology and the move by banks to meet the banking lifestyle of an evolving demography.

This has seen a lot of banks, including Fidelity, embrace innovative means to satisfy their customers.

It also organised the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC), which is the largest trade exhibition by Nigerian-based businesses in the United Kingdom in recent times. It was a major move in increasing Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

At the end of the maiden edition which held in London, it recorded pipeline deals of over $200 million, more than 100 exhibitors from Nigeria with product offerings ranging from processed food to fashion, fintech and the arts and over 2,000 attendees over two days.

“In collaboration with our strategic partners, we have created this platform to connect Nigerian exporters with UK buyers. This inaugural edition of the FITCC hosts more than 100 exhibitors from Nigeria with product offerings ranging from processed food to fashion, fintech and the arts.

“Fidelity Bank is a leading financial institution in Nigeria and a market leader in supporting small and medium scale enterprises and export-oriented businesses. This event is therefore an extension of the support that we provide to the business ecosystem in Nigeria as work to help them compete favourably on the global stage,” Onyeali-Ikpe said in her welcome remarks at the event.

It is expected that the impressive financial would continue to attract investors to the bank even as it continues to meet the expectations of its customers.

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Banking Sector

CBN Governor Vows to Tackle High Inflation, Signals Prolonged High Interest Rates

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Central Bank of Nigeria - Investors King

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, has pledged to employ decisive measures, including maintaining high interest rates for as long as necessary.

This announcement comes amidst growing concerns over the country’s soaring inflation rates, which have posed significant economic challenges in recent times.

Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, Cardoso emphasized the unwavering commitment of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to take whatever steps are essential to rein in inflation.

He underscored the urgency of the situation, stating that there is “every indication” that the MPC is prepared to implement stringent measures to curb the upward trajectory of inflation.

“They will continue to do what has to be done to ensure that inflation comes down,” Cardoso affirmed, highlighting the determination of the CBN to confront the inflationary pressures gripping the economy.

The CBN’s proactive stance on inflation was evident from the outset of the year, with the MPC taking bold steps to tighten monetary policy.

The committee notably raised the benchmark lending rate by 400 basis points during its February meeting, further increasing it to 24.75% in March.

Looking ahead, the next MPC meeting, scheduled for May 20-21, will likely serve as a platform for further deliberations on monetary policy adjustments in response to evolving economic conditions.

Financial analysts have projected continued tightening measures by the MPC in light of stubbornly high inflation rates. Meristem Securities, for instance, anticipates a further uptick in headline inflation for April, underscoring the persistent inflationary pressures facing the economy.

Despite the necessity of maintaining high interest rates to address inflationary concerns, Cardoso acknowledged the potential drawbacks of such measures.

He expressed hope that the prolonged high rates would not dampen investment and production activities in the economy, recognizing the need for a delicate balance in monetary policy decisions.

“Hiking interest rates obviously has had a dampening effect on the foreign exchange market, so that has begun to moderate,” Cardoso remarked, highlighting the multifaceted impacts of monetary policy adjustments.

Addressing recent fluctuations in the value of the naira, Cardoso reassured investors of the central bank’s commitment to market stability.

He emphasized the importance of returning to orthodox monetary policies, signaling a departure from previous unconventional approaches to monetary management.

As the CBN governor charts a course towards stabilizing the economy and combating inflation, his steadfast resolve underscores the gravity of the challenges facing Nigeria’s monetary authorities.

In the face of daunting inflationary pressures, the commitment to decisive action offers a glimmer of hope for achieving stability and sustainable economic growth in the country.

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Banking Sector

NDIC Managing Director Reveals: Only 25% of Customers’ Deposits Insured

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Retail banking

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bello Hassan, has revealed that a mere 25% of customers’ deposits are insured by the corporation.

This revelation has sparked concerns about the vulnerability of depositors’ funds and raised questions about the adequacy of regulatory safeguards in Nigeria’s banking sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2024 Sensitisation Seminar for justices of the court of appeal in Lagos, themed ‘Building Strong Depositors Confidence in Banks and Other Financial Institutions through Adjudication,’ Hassan shed light on the limited coverage of deposit insurance for bank customers.

Hassan addressed recent concerns surrounding the hike in deposit insurance coverage and emphasized the need for periodic reviews to ensure adequacy and credibility.

He explained that the decision to increase deposit insurance limits was based on various factors, including the average deposit size, inflation impact, GDP per capita, and exchange rate fluctuations.

Despite the coverage extending to approximately 98% of depositors, Hassan underscored the critical gap between the number of depositors covered and the value of deposits insured.

He stressed that while nearly all depositors are accounted for, only a quarter of the total value of deposits is protected, leaving a significant portion of funds vulnerable to risk.

“The coverage is just 25% of the total value of the deposits,” Hassan affirmed, highlighting the disparity between the number of depositors covered and the actual value of deposits within the banking system.

Moreover, Hassan addressed concerns about moral hazard, emphasizing that the presence of uninsured deposits would incentivize banks to exercise market discipline and mitigate risks associated with reckless behavior.

“The quantum of deposits not covered will enable banks to exercise market discipline and eliminate the issue of moral hazards,” Hassan stated, suggesting that the lack of full coverage serves as a safeguard against irresponsible banking practices.

However, Hassan’s revelations have prompted calls for greater regulatory oversight and transparency within Nigeria’s financial institutions. Critics argue that the current level of deposit insurance falls short of providing adequate protection for depositors, especially in the event of bank failures or financial crises.

The disclosure comes amid ongoing efforts by regulatory authorities to bolster depositor confidence and strengthen the resilience of the banking sector. With concerns mounting over the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, stakeholders are urging for proactive measures to address vulnerabilities and enhance consumer protection.

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Banking Sector

Wema Bank Celebrates 79th Anniversary with Launch of CoopHub for Cooperative Societies

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wema bank - Investors King

Wema Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, has introduced a digital solution tailored for cooperative societies.

The innovative platform, named CoopHub, was developed to drive digital transformation and empower communities across Nigeria.

The unveiling of CoopHub took center stage at the bank’s anniversary celebration, held on Friday amidst much anticipation and excitement.

The launch of this pioneering platform underscores Wema Bank’s dedication to innovation and customer-centricity, aiming to revolutionize the operations of cooperative societies and address longstanding challenges within the sector.

At the heart of CoopHub lies a strategic vision to redefine the way cooperative societies function by providing tailored solutions that bridge the gaps inherent in traditional cooperative frameworks.

Designed to streamline operations, enhance communication, and promote financial inclusivity, CoopHub aims to empower cooperative societies and their members for optimal productivity and growth.

Moruf Oseni, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank, emphasized the strategic importance of CoopHub in addressing the pain points faced by cooperative societies.

He highlighted challenges such as manual recordkeeping, limited access to loans, poor communication, insecurity, and other restrictions that CoopHub seeks to overcome. Oseni reaffirmed Wema Bank’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity, stating that CoopHub represents a significant step forward in empowering communities across Nigeria.

Solomon Ayodele, Wema Bank’s Head of Innovation, elaborated on the transformative features of CoopHub, emphasizing its role in ushering cooperative societies into a new era of efficiency and transparency.

Ayodele highlighted features such as a digitized database for recordkeeping, user management capabilities for leaders, transparent overviews of contributions, seamless communication frameworks, and robust security measures, including a three-factor authentication system for withdrawals.

Ayodele urged cooperative societies to embrace CoopHub and experience the future of cooperative operations firsthand.

He emphasized the platform’s potential to eliminate conflicts, mistrust, and inefficiencies, offering a seamless and secure ecosystem for cooperative members to thrive.

The launch of CoopHub comes at a time when cooperative societies play a vital role in Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.

According to the National Cooperative Financing Agency of Nigeria, over 30 million Nigerians belong to cooperative societies, highlighting the significant impact of these entities on community development and financial inclusion.

As Wema Bank embarks on its 79th year of operation, the introduction of CoopHub underscores the institution’s commitment to driving positive change and fostering sustainable growth within Nigeria’s cooperative sector.

With its innovative features and transformative capabilities, CoopHub promises to empower cooperative societies, enhance financial inclusivity, and catalyze socio-economic development across Nigeria.

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