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Fitch Affirms 8 Nigerian Banks’ Ratings

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Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings Friday affirmed the national ratings of eight Nigerian banks. The banks are First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Union Bank , Stanbic IBTC Bank, the Bank of Industry (BOI) as well as Stanbic IBTC Holdings (SIBTCH).

A statement from the international agency explained that the rating actions followed Fitch’s downgrade of Nigeria’s Long-Term Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘, as a result of which it now equalised with the long-term foreign currency IDR.

It further explained that its latest action was driven by the change in Fitch’s sovereign rating criteria.

“Following the sovereign criteria change and rating action, Fitch has recalibrated the National Rating scale for Nigeria. As a result the national ratings for the aforementioned banks were affirmed as there is no change in their relative creditworthiness,” it stated.

According to the agency, the national rating of UBA was based its standalone creditworthiness and was also underpinned by potential sovereign support.

Also, the national ratings of FBN, Fidelity, Diamond, FCMB and UBN were based on potential sovereign support given their systemic importance, just as the national ratings of Stanbic and SIBTCH were based on the probability of support from their parent, Standard Bank Group Limited (SBG; BBB-/Stable).

SBG has a majority 53.2 per cent stake in SIBTCH, which in turn owns 100% of Stanbic IBTC.

“Fitch believes that SBG’s support would extend equally to both the bank and the holding company. The national ratings of BOI are driven by potential sovereign support reflecting its 99.9 per cent state ownership, its policy role and the bank’s strategic importance to Nigeria’s economic and industrial development.

“The banks’ (apart from UBA, SIBTC and SIBTCH) national ratings are sensitive to a weakening ability of the Nigerian sovereign to provide support. UBA’s National Ratings are sensitive to both a weakening in sovereign support as well as any change in its standalone credit worthiness”, it said.

“The national ratings of SIBTC and SIBTCH are sensitive to a change in potential support (relating to both ability and propensity) from their ultimate parent, SBG. The national ratings of SIBTCH and SIBTC could withstand a three-notch downgrade of SBG’s long-term IDR,” it added.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

More Retirees Quit Pension Scheme, Collects N28.46 Billion

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Pensioners

114,837 Retirees Quit Pension Scheme, Collects N28.46 Billion

Thousands of retirees whose employers did not adequately fund their Retirement Savings Accounts and retired with balances below N550,000 have collected their contributions and quit the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

A total of 114,837 employees who retired after attaining the age of 50 and had less than N550,000 in their CPS account had collected their contributions and left the scheme as of the end of June 2020.

This includes contributors from the state, federal and private sectors.

In the quarterly report released on Friday by the PenCom, these retirees withdrew a total sum of N28.46 billion since the inception of the scheme till June.

The report showed about 6,561 of the total retirees that left the program were from the Federal Government sector while 3,879 and 104,397 were from the state and private sectors, respectively.

The report also showed that some of those who collected their contributions included foreign nationals who retired and returned to their countries of origin.

A further breakdown showed as of the end of third quarter of 2019, a total of 109,284 retirees with similar low balances withdrew N27.09 billion. While by the final quarter of 2019, 2,241 retirees withdrew about N569.27 million.

In the first quarter and second quarter of 2020, about 2,227 and 1,085 retirees withdrawn N531.95 million and N274.09 million, respectively. Bringing the total from inception to N28.46 billion.

PenCom stated in its Q2 report on en-bloc payments that, “The commission granted approval for the payment of the entire RSA balances of the categories of retirees whose RSA balances were N550,000 or below and considered insufficient to procure a programmed withdrawal or annuity of a reasonable amount over an expected life span.

“Approval was also granted for payment of RSA balances to foreign nationals who decided to return to their home countries after making contributions under the CPS.

“Accordingly, the sum of N274.78m was paid to 1,085 retirees, which comprised 140 from the public sector retirees (FGN and state) and 1,085 from the private sector retirees during the second quarter.

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Finance

Central Bank to Promote Zero Balance Account Opening to Drive Financial Inclusion

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Central Bank

Banks Now Accept Zero Balance Account Opening to Deepen Financial Inclusion

In an effort to boost financial inclusion in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said it would start promoting zero balance account opening to encourage and lure the unbanked into the banking system.

The apex bank disclosed this in its report titled ‘Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021’.

The report read in part, “As part of its effort towards promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, the bank shall continue to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilisation during the 2020/2021 fiscal years.

“Accordingly, banks shall allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts and simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer requirements.

“Banks are also encouraged to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.”

The apex bank said the Shared Agency Network Expansion Facility, launched to deepen provision of financial services in under-served and unserved locations and drive financial inclusion through agent banking, would continue in the 2020/2021 fiscal years.

Banks, mobile money operators and super-agents would also continue to render returns in the prescribed formats and frequency to the CBN.

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Finance

Investors Oversubscribed for FGN Bonds by N205.87 Billion in October

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bonds

FG October Bonds Oversubscribed by N205.87 Billion

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has said investors oversubscribed for the Federal Government’s October bonds by N205.87 billion.

The DMO stated this after concluding the monthly FGN bonds auction on Wednesday.

Two instruments of 12.5 per cent FGN March 2035 re-opening 15-year bond and 9.8 per cent FGN July 2045 re-opening 25-year bond were auctioned.

The two bonds of N15bn each with a total auction figure of N30bn received a subscription of N235.87bn.

The 15-year tenor and 25-year tenor bonds received 99 and 67 bids but recorded 21 and 26 successful bids respectively.

The amounts allotted for each of the bids were N20bn and N25bn respectively.

According to the DMO, successful bids for the 15-year tenor bond and 25-year tenor bonds were allotted at the marginal rates of 4.97 per cent and six per cent respectively.

However, it added, the original coupon rates of 12.5 per cent for the 12.5 per cent FGN March 2035 bond and the 9.8 per cent for the 9.8 per cent FGN July 2045 bonds would be maintained.

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