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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Transforms Ajose Adeogun Street Into a Resplendent Spectacle With Christmas Decorations

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In a splendid display, Zenith Bank heralded the Christmas and Yuletide seasons with the Light-Up of Ajose Adeogun Street and Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, 25 November 2023.

The Light-Up ceremony was performed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu.

This year’s Light Up Ceremony, the 17th of its kind, is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by Zenith Bank. The Christmas decoration is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the bank to herald the Yuletide season through the beautification and transformation of the entire stretch of Ajose Adeogun Street (home to Zenith Bank’s Corporate Headquarters) and Roundabout into a resplendent spectacle – which has come to be recognised as an iconic tourist attraction, attracting people from all walks of life who visit with their families and friends to take pictures and make videos of the beautiful spectacle, especially at night and enjoy the ambience of the street and season.

Speaking during the ceremony, Dr. Onyeagwu expressed his delight in heralding the 2023 Yuletide season by lighting up the iconic Ajose Adeogun Street and Roundabout. He urged everyone to imbibe the message and spirit of Christmas, which is about peace, love, forgiveness and respect for humanity and prayed for peace in every home, business and country. In his words, “Today, as we turn on the Christmas light with the wife of our Founder and Chairman, Mrs. Kay Ovia, in our midst, we hope with this, we activate the spirit of Christmas in the minds of everyone. We pray that the ambience of the light brings warmth, love, joy, fulfilment, and hope to every one of us. We pray that our country will experience peace. We pray that our joy will be full in this season of joy. So, in the spirit of the Yuletide season, Zenith Bank is also demonstrating that we want to use this to continue communicating and connecting with the community.”

He lauded the efforts of Quantum Markets, who have been responsible for the annual decorations, for their outstandingly creative and beautiful work. According to him, “It is an amazing evening! First and foremost, we need to thank Quantum Markets for the incredible work they are doing. You know, every year, the theme, the style and the ambience look completely different, and today, in a few minutes, we are going to be turning on the light, and you are going to see that it is nothing compared to what you have seen anywhere in the world. I have had the privilege of seeing Christmas light in so many cities across the world, and I say without any sense of contradiction that none compares with what we have in Lagos, Nigeria.”

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 2022 was NGN1.67 billion, representing 0.75% of its Profit After Tax (PAT). 

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 its host communities.

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, Zenith Bank Delta State Principals’ Cup, and Zenith Bank Delta State Headmasters’ Cup, amongst others.

In recognition of its contributions and social investments to its host communities and the society at large, the bank was recognised as the “Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria” in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards and “Most Responsible Organization in Africa” at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021.

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Banking Sector

85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline

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First Bank

As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.

Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.

Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.

However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.

Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.

Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.

Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.

She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.

Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.

Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.

Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.

As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.

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Banking Sector

Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate

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In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.

This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.

The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.

The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.

The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.

The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.

Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.

The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank

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Femi Otedola

FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.

At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.

The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.

The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.

Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.

Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.

Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.

The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.

Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.

FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.

As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.

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