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FirstBank Wins Financial Institution of the Year at The Afrexim Bank Pan-African Business and Development Awards

The award was bestowed on FirstBank in recognition of the Bank’s role in promoting trade and investment endeavours across the continent.

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FirstBank Award at AfreximBank

The award was bestowed on FirstBank in recognition of the Bank’s role in promoting trade and investment endeavours across the continent.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial inclusion services provider, has won the Financial Institution of the Year Award at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Pan African Business and Development Awards. The ceremony marked the 30th anniversary of Afreximbank as it hosted the inaugural Pan-African Business and Development Awards in association with the Business Council for Africa (BCA), in Accra, Ghana.

The award bestowed on FirstBank is in recognition of the Bank as an epitome of the Pan-African spirit through its leading role in promoting trade and investment across the continent which have been instrumental to strengthening the economic and multilateral business relationship across nations. 

Amongst its role in facilitating transactions across borders, in 2021, the Bank launched its First Global Transfer (FGT) initiative, specifically designed to ensure safe, timely and improved efficiency in the transfer of funds across the network of FirstBank subsidiaries in Africa. The FGT is not restricted to FirstBank Group’s Customers alone but it is also open to every individual resident in the country the funds transfer is originating from.  

Speaking on the awards, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said: “We thank the organisers of the event (Afreximbank, BCA) for the recognition as it reinforces our commitment to promoting trade, finance and investment opportunities across borders which have been instrumental to the continued growth and development of the continent and the world. On behalf of the Board and Management, this award is dedicated to all employees at the FirstBank Group for their diligence and hardwork as well as to our esteemed customers for their loyalty and patronage in over 129 years of existence’’ he concluded.

Also commenting on the awards, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board, who has been at the Bank for over 29 years said: “Tonight we are recognising outstanding leaders and institutions. Having joined the Bank in 1994, I have been fortunate to have worked with many of them… At Afreximbank, contributing to Africa’s development is a lifetime vocation, as I know it is for all those that we have recognised tonight.”

In recognising these leaders and institutions, Arnold Ekpe, chair of the BCA and former Group CEO of Ecobank, said: “Too often our business leaders do not get the praise they deserve. Succeeding in business on the continent is not always easy, but it is rewarding and more importantly it is possible to build strong, profitable businesses that are globally competitive. Our winners tonight have demonstrated this.”

FirstBank has consistently been recognised by reputable global organisations for its steady outstanding performance and amongst the streak of recent wins is the award for Best Financial Inclusion Service Provider Nigeria 2023 by Digital Banker Africa as well as Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa by Global Finance. 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Jaiz Bank Boosts Chairman’s Income to N24m Amidst Strategic Expansion

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Jaiz Bank

Jaiz Bank has announced a 20% increase in its chairman’s annual income to N24 million.

This decision was unveiled in a recent statement filed with the Nigeria Exchange Limited, highlighting the bank’s commitment to rewarding leadership amidst its expansion plans.

The bank, renowned for its pioneering role in non-interest banking in Nigeria since 2012, also approved a remuneration package of N20 million for each non-executive director.

The announcement was made by the bank’s secretary, Mohammed Shehu, highlighting the importance of competitive compensation for board members who provide crucial oversight and strategic guidance.

Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) expressed confidence in the board’s leadership by approving the resolution on directors’ fees.

This move aligns with Jaiz Bank’s ongoing efforts to enhance its capital base to N70 billion by the end of 2024.

The bank also announced a dividend of 4 kobo per share, which will be distributed to shareholders on July 16, 2024.

This dividend declaration was welcomed as a testament to the bank’s operational success in a challenging economic climate.

Also, the AGM saw the re-election of Muhammadu Indimi and Muhammad Abdulmutallab as non-executive directors, reaffirming shareholder trust in their leadership capabilities.

Jaiz Bank’s financial performance has been impressive, with a 67% increase in profit before tax, reaching N11.1 billion in 2023.

Gross earnings also rose by 42% to N47.2 billion from the previous year, showcasing the bank’s successful growth strategy.

As Jaiz Bank continues to expand its services, the enhanced remuneration package signals a commitment to maintaining strong governance and leadership, paving the way for future achievements in ethical banking.

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Banking Sector

Nigeria Plans 50% Windfall Tax on Banks’ Currency Profits

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has announced a one-time 50% tax on windfall profits that banks reaped from currency gains following last year’s naira devaluation.

This decision was part of the government’s strategy to navigate the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The naira, which has depreciated by about 70% against the dollar since foreign exchange rules were relaxed in June 2023, allowed banks holding dollar assets to significantly boost their income.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria had advised lenders to retain these profits as a buffer against potential future losses.

The proposed tax will apply to the 2023 financial year, with non-compliance resulting in hefty fines.

The move has already impacted the NGX Banking Index, which fell by 1.3% as of midday trading in Lagos. Notable declines were seen in FBN Holdings Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, dropping 3.2% and 2.5% respectively.

This initiative mirrors similar actions in Europe, where countries like Italy and Hungary have imposed taxes on banks to address what they view as excessive profits during periods of high inflation and interest rates.

European banks have criticized these measures, warning of potential impacts on economic growth due to constrained lending capabilities.

President Tinubu’s administration believes this tax will help manage Nigeria’s fiscal challenges while addressing social needs.

Lawmakers are expected to support the measure, alongside a proposal to increase government spending by 6.2 trillion naira ($3.8 billion).

While banks have benefited from currency revaluations, many customers, particularly manufacturers with dollar-denominated loans, faced significant losses as they struggled with the weaker naira.

The new tax policy highlights the government’s broader efforts to stabilize the economy and attract foreign investment, aiming to ensure a more equitable distribution of financial gains.

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Banking Sector

Unity Bank Customers Win Over N4 Million in Cashtoken Rewards Promo

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Unity Bank customers have claimed over N4 million in cash rewards in its ongoing loyalty programme recently rolled out with Cashtoken, a Cash Reward-as-a-Service company.

The winners included no fewer than 40 customers who adopted and transacted on the Bank’s digital banking platforms, including the UniFi mobile banking application, the *7799# USSD platform or activated their Unity Bank Verve Card to transact on e-payment terminals across Nigeria.

Beginning from onboarding in our customer lifecycle journey, the Unity Bank Cashtoken Partnership commenced as a loyalty and reward scheme to reinforce the benefits of e-banking platforms. To begin, Customer transactions earn cash tokens, which are then redeemed to qualify for the monthly Cashtoken Rewards draw. Consequently, winners emerge from the draws to claim the cash prizes.

Recall that the retail lender announced the ongoing Cashtoken Rewards loyalty programme in December 2023 in partnership with Cashtoken Rewards Africa to empower customers and improve customer satisfaction. The partnership with Cashtoken Rewards also provided an opportunity for the Bank to migrate customers—old and new—to a platform that will continually create exciting rewards and appreciation for loyalty.

Eghomware Iyamu, Unity Bank’s Head of E-Business, commenting on the success of the Cashtoken Rewards loyalty program, stated: “We are excited to see our customers win over N4 million in cash rewards through our partnership with Cashtoken. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to recognizing and rewarding the loyalty of our customers”.

“By leveraging our digital banking platforms, including the Unifi mobile banking application and the *7799# USSD platform, we are not only enhancing customer experience but also providing life-changing opportunities. The Cashtoken Rewards program is a testament to our dedication to improving customer satisfaction and creating meaningful rewards along our customer lifecycle journey. We look forward to seeing more of our customers benefit from this exciting program as we continue to innovate and deliver exceptional value to them.”

Unity Bank has robust electronic banking products which include mobile and digital banking channels, including ATM, PoS, or any digital payment channels which support retail product transactions across the country. New-to-Bank customers are invited to open a Unity Bank account, onboard onto the digital platforms and begin transacting on the various platforms to earn cash token rewards and cash prizes while existing customers are encouraged to onboard and transact to win even more rewards and cash prizes.

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