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Banking Sector

Mastercard and Zenith Bank Introduce Two New Payment Cards for Nigeria’s Financial Inclusion Drive

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Mastercard, in partnership with Zenith Bank, has announced the launch of two innovative payment cards aimed at driving financial inclusion in Nigeria.

The newly unveiled cards, the Mastercard Naija Card and the World Elite Credit Card, cater to the diverse financial needs of various market segments within the country.

The Mastercard Naija Card represents a significant stride in Mastercard’s commitment to fostering financial inclusion by providing affordable banking solutions to individuals historically excluded from traditional financial services.

With Nigeria having approximately 28.8 million financially excluded individuals as of 2023, this initiative aims to bridge the gap by offering accessible banking options.

On the other hand, the World Elite Credit Card targets ultra-high-net-worth individuals, offering a range of benefits and discounts across travel, lifestyle, health, and insurance services.

This premium card is designed to cater to the affluent segment of the population, providing exclusive privileges and rewards.

Folasade Femi-Lawal, the Country Manager and Area Business Head for West Africa at Mastercard, expressed excitement about the launch, emphasizing its significance in the mission to connect one billion people to the digital economy by 2025.

She highlighted the role of these products in providing tailored banking solutions to diverse consumer segments and driving financial inclusion.

Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the collaborative effort between Mastercard and Zenith Bank to redefine the financial landscape in Nigeria and West Africa.

He emphasized their commitment to delivering accessible and customized financial services across all customer segments, thereby driving progress and financial empowerment.

The collaboration between Mastercard and Zenith Bank signifies a pivotal milestone in expanding access to high-quality, locally relevant financial services, underscoring their dedication to advancing financial inclusion and driving socio-economic development in Nigeria.

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

FMBN Set for Commercialization to Improve Affordable Mortgage Financing

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FMBN

In a bid to bolster housing delivery efficiency and enhance affordable mortgage financing for Nigerians, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is gearing up for commercialization.

This move comes as part of the Nigerian government’s efforts to address the housing deficit and ensure adequate shelter for its citizens.

The Managing Director of FMBN, Shehu Osidi, made this announcement during a courtesy visit by the Federal Housing Delivery Reforms Task Team at the bank’s headquarters in Abuja.

Led by Mr. Adedeji Adesemoye and Brig. Gen. Tunde Reis, the task team discussed strategies to revitalize the housing sector, with a focus on FMBN’s pivotal role in providing affordable mortgage financing.

Osidi explained the bank’s commitment to supporting the government’s agenda of reforming and improving the housing sector, which is vital for sustainable development and enhancing citizens’ quality of life.

He underscored FMBN’s significant journey in the history of mortgage and housing finance in Nigeria and expressed optimism about the forthcoming commercialization process.

The commercialization plan involves repositioning and recapitalization efforts, following extensive engagements with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

Osidi stressed the importance of aligning the bank’s operations with its mandate of affordable mortgage financing, ensuring that it remains a reliable partner in the quest for accessible housing solutions.

As part of its strategic blueprint, FMBN has prioritized various initiatives to enhance service delivery and operational efficiency.

Of note is the ICT project aimed at upgrading core banking applications that is almost complete and promised to revolutionize customers’ experience.

Also, amendments to the FMBN and NFH Acts are underway in the National Assembly, addressing key areas to facilitate the bank’s transformation.

Despite challenges, including performance issues with estate development loans, FMBN is determined to overcome obstacles and achieve its objectives.

The commercialization plan aligns with broader efforts to deepen reforms and foster a remarkable turnaround in the housing sector.

By focusing on process automation, cost efficiency, credit quality enhancement, and strategic partnerships, FMBN aims to catalyze sustainable growth and address the nation’s housing needs effectively.

Chairman of the Federal Housing Reforms Task Team, Adedeji Adesomoye, reiterated the committee’s mandate to review the operations and governance structures of key housing institutions.

With ambitious targets set by the government, including the construction of 20,000 housing units in 2024 and 50,000 units in subsequent years, the commercialization of FMBN marks a pivotal step towards realizing Nigeria’s housing aspirations.

As the commercialization process unfolds, FMBN stands poised to play a central role in facilitating access to affordable mortgage financing, thereby contributing to the realization of homeownership dreams for millions of Nigerians.

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Banking Sector

Adesola Adeduntan’s Early Departure Prompts First Bank Holdings to Scrap Capital Raise Plans

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

First Bank Holdings Plc has decided to scrap its plans for capital raise following the early departure of its Managing Director, Adesola Adeduntan.

The decision to cancel the extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which was planned to discuss the proposed N300 billion capital raise, comes amidst Adeduntan’s resignation from his role, eight months before the scheduled expiration of his tenure.

The bank formally announced the cancellation of the EGM in a filing seen by Investors King on Friday.

The meeting, which was initially scheduled to be held virtually on April 30, 2024, aimed to seek authorization from the company’s members for the capital raise and address other related matters.

Adeduntan’s resignation, announced on the same day as the cancellation of the EGM, comes as a result of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s tenure requirements affecting bank executives.

In his retirement letter addressed to the Chairman of First Bank, Adeduntan expressed gratitude for the support received during his stewardship and highlighted the strides made by the bank during his tenure.

He stated, “During this period, the bank and its subsidiaries have undergone significant changes and broken new grounds. We have repositioned the institution as an enviable financial giant in Africa.”

Adeduntan further mentioned his decision to pursue other interests, prompting his early retirement effective April 20, 2024.

The cancellation of the capital raise plans shows the impact of Adeduntan’s departure on the bank’s strategic initiatives.

It reflects a shift in priorities for First Bank Holdings as it navigates leadership changes and seeks to chart a new course for its future direction.

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Banking Sector

First Bank MD, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Resigns to Pursue New Opportunities

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO - Investors King

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Managing Director of First Bank Nigeria Limited, has announced his resignation from the bank after nine years of leadership.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman of First Bank, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, Dr. Adeduntan expressed his decision to step down voluntarily, effective April 20, 2024, to pursue new opportunities.

Having served as the CEO since January 1, 2016, Dr. Adeduntan’s tenure has been marked by significant transformations within the institution. Under his leadership, First Bank and its subsidiaries have undergone substantial changes, positioning the bank as a formidable financial powerhouse in Africa.

In his resignation letter, Dr. Adeduntan highlighted the achievements made during his tenure, stating, “We have repositioned the institution as an enviable financial giant in Africa.”

He expressed gratitude to the board of directors of First Bank and FBN Holdings Plc for their support throughout his stewardship.

Dr. Adeduntan’s decision to resign comes as he approaches the end of his contract, which was set to expire on December 31, 2024.

He stated, “After which I would no longer be eligible for employment within the bank.” Despite his departure, he wished the institution continued success and progress in its evolution.

Throughout his career in banking and finance spanning over three decades, Dr. Adeduntan has been recognized for his contributions and received numerous awards.

He holds a Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, and an MBA from Cranfield University, United Kingdom, and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Dr. Adeduntan’s departure marks the end of an era for First Bank, as the institution prepares to transition into a new phase of its evolution.

His leadership has left a lasting legacy of transformation and growth, and his contributions will be remembered in the annals of the bank’s history.

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