Tag Archives: bank

Investors ‘not certain’ of Banks’ growth

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Reacting to the performance, the Chief Research Officer of Investdata Consulting Limited, Ambrose Omordion, said the banking sector’s Q3 numbers were mixed and flat.

With the current harsh operating environment, exacerbated by impact of COVID-19 on businesses, investors have expressed worry that the banking sector might record rise in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) and erode profitability, if government failed to provide support to boost performance and sustain growth.

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This is because banks play critical role of mobilising savings from surplus economic units to deficit areas to stimulate investments.

Investors argue that banks’ shares are currently selling on discount in the stock market, considering their book value per share, following economic turmoil occasioned by COVID-19 shutdown and other socio-political crisis.

This means that market value of banks are below the book value per share. For instance, the book value of one of the leading banks is 32.94, while market value is N22.60 kobo as of December 14, 2020.

According to analysts, the banking sector, which has been the most liquid in the Nigerian equity market over the years, has come under significant headwind in recent months.

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From strict regulatory guidelines to the current systemic risk, COVID-19 and the drop in oil price have triggered a spate of sell-offs in the market, further affecting the banking sector. The pandemic has severely affected businesses; causing low patronage, dip in revenues, higher cost of operations, and crushing debts.

The situation has impacted negatively on the third quarter (Q3) result of some biggest banks, especially as several events in the country point to an uncertain 2021 for businesses.

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According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), total banking sector credit to the economy stood at about N18.8 trillion in the second quarter of 2020, up from N17.1 trillion at the end of 2019. However, NPLs at the end of the second quarter of 2020 rose by 2.27 per cent to N1.2 trillion.

Although a recent release by the NBS showed the total amount of NPLs in Nigerian banks fell from N1.21 trillion in second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020) to N1.17 trillion as of Q3 2020; the investors maintained that increase in banks’ Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) to 65 percent last year, was to improve lending to the real sector, but has pulled a large chunk of money from the banking system.

Although, they affirmed that the market has recorded unprecedented growth in the past few months, it is argued that government’s inability to provide an enabling environment that would boost operations of companies under the real sector and improve their profits would ultimately depress the market, shore up bank’s Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), and erode their profitability.

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Presently, the five big banks (FUGAZ) — FBN Holdings, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Access Bank and Zenith Bank— are currently trading at values described by operators as very low, compared to their fundamentals.

A look at the third quarter (Q3), 2020 performance of the banks revealed that despite efforts to cope with the pandemic, profit of some Tier one banks, especially GTBank and UBA, dropped.

For the Q3 ended September 2020, United Bank for Africa’s (UBA) unaudited result showed 5.99 percent growth in gross earnings, from N428.7 billion in September 2019 to N454.4 billion in 2020.

However, its profit before tax fell from N98.2 billion to N90.4 billion, while Profit After Tax (PAT) stood at N77.1 billion; thus putting the annualised return on average equity at 16.4 percent.

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The bank’s total assets grew to N7.1 trillion, a 26 percent increase from the N5.6 trillion recorded at the end of December 2019.

UBA also said shareholders’ funds grew by 9.6 percent to N655.3 billion from N598 billion recorded in December 2019, thus reflecting strong capacity for internal capital generation and growth.

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Similarly, Guaranty Trust Bank Q3 result showed that the group reported a PAT of 167.4 billion, representing a decrease of 1.9 per cent over 170.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019 and an improvement on the 5.2 per cent dip posted in H1-2020, relative to H1-2019.

The bank’s loan and deposit book, however, grew by 4.5 per cent and 25.1 per cent from ₦1.502 trillion and 2.640 trillion recorded as of December 2019, to ₦1.569 trillion and ₦3.303 trillion in September 2020 respectively.

The bank’s balance sheet remained well- structured, diversified, and resilient with total assets and shareholders’ funds closing at ₦4.574 trillion and ₦755.5 billion respectively.

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Zenith Bank ‘s unaudited results for the third quarter ended 30 September 2020 showed four per cent rise in gross earnings to N509 billion, from N491 billion posted in the corresponding period in 2019.

According to the unaudited account, which was presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the growth was driven by non-interest income, which grew by 11 per cent to N173 billion from N157 billion recorded at the end of Q3 2019.

The Group’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) rose marginally to N177 billion at the end of Q3 2020, representing a growth of one per cent over theN176 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2019.

FBN Holdings gross earnings grew by 5.1 per cent to N439 billion from N418 billion in the previous quarter.

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The bank’s PBT grew by 16.1 per cent to N63.3 billion while PAT grew by 31.9 per cent to N68.2 billion. Access Bank Plc Q3 2020 Unaudited results showed 15.4 per cent increase in gross earnings to N593 billion from N514 billion achieved in 2019. PBT grew by 15.7 per cent to N117 billion, while PAT grew by 15.7 per cent to N102 billion.

He argued that, aside GTBank that seemed to be selling at premium price, the banks were underpriced and currently selling at a discount in the stock market.

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However, he pointed out that some scorecards were outstanding to give insight of dividend possibility.

“The tier one banks have the earnings capacity to pay investors dividend at the end of the current financial year-end. These banks are underpriced, except for GTBank that seems to be selling at a premium, while others are selling at a discount with high margin of safety, considering their book value.

“But the sector looks good and attractive for income investors and traders. They should keep their gaze on banks with earnings capacity to pay dividend.

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The future of Nigerian banks are stable. The sector has shown resilience during the pandemic. The improving macro-economic indices indicate that business environment is becoming stable. This is expected to support the banks,” he said.

A stockbroker with APT Securities, Jamiu Kayode, said: “All the tier one banks have improved when you compare Q3 2020 to that of 2019, except GTBank and UBA whose profit dropped from N146 billion to N142 billion and N81 billion to N77 billion.”

Although he said the share prices had increased significantly, he, however, noted that the stocks were still undervalued.

An independent investor, Amaechi Egbo, said the 65 per cent LDR of banks and low interest rates had supported economic recovery, despite the economic recession.

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He stated that government must continue to create the enabling environment for companies to thrive so that loan facilities from banks would be properly utilised.

According to him, if government will remain focused, in addition to good regulations and improved business environment, the issue of rising NPLs would be checked in the banking sector, while banks would continue to expand operations and increase profitability.

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#Newsworthy

Bill to aid Banks recover bad debts passes second reading in Senate

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The lawmaker further noted that even though there was a subsisting court judgement that empowered banks to take back their money from bad debtors, the proposed legislation was necessary.

A Bill for an Act to assist banks recover bad debts, scaled second reading at the Senate on Tuesday. This followed the adoption of a motion by the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger) during plenary.

Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Musa said that the proposed law would help to recover past and due obligations without recourse to the borrower as well as provide penalties for breaches.

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He said that the essence was to enhance loan recovery in the Nigerian banking sector. He said that the legislation had become necessary because credit was seen as the lifewire of the banking business and the current situation in Nigeria demanded an injection of a healthy bank credit and recovery system that would effectively fasten the pace of growth in the financial sector.

“It is unfortunate that every lending institution finds itself from time to time with loans of which the risk of loss is greater than anticipated.

” In every lending environment, there are two types of borrowers – the good and the bad.

“Before the deregulation of our banking system, the ability of our banks to recover loans has been the factor behind the collapse of many commercial banks.

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“Today, the situation in Nigeria has become very serious and seemingly intractable and thereby frustrating our efforts as a nation towards private sector-driven economy,” he said.

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege who presided over plenary, referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Financial Institutions for further legislative works to report back in four weeks.

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#Newsworthy

CBN Moves License Payment Service Banks To Unbanked Individuals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines for licensing and regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) as it aims to enhance financial inclusion to small businesses, low-income households, and other financially excluded entities.

In a circular to PSBs on Thursday, the financial regulator said that despite several initiatives introduced, the inclusion rate remained below expectations.

It added that in collaboration with critical stakeholders in the digital financial ecosystem, the need to establish a guideline for the operations of the PSBs is crucial to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities at the grassroots through the provision of financial services.

“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) seeks to ensure that over 80 percent of the bankable adults in Nigeria have access to financial services by 2020. The CBN in collaboration with stakeholders launched the NFIS on 23rd October 2012 with a view to reducing the exclusion rate to 20 percent by 2020.

“Despite several initiatives including the Introduction of Microfinance banking, Agent Banking, Tiered Know-Your-Customer Requirements, and Mobile Money Operation (MMO) in pursuit of this objective, the inclusion rate remains below expectation.

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“In view of the challenges to effective outreach to rural communities as well as the need to complement the services provided by other licensed entities, the CBN issues this regulation to provide for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria,” it added.

According to the CBN, the Payment Service Banks structure shall include; “Operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons, with not less than 25% financial service touchpoints in such rural areas as defined by the CBN from time to time; enter into direct partnership with card scheme operators. Such cards shall not be eligible for foreign currency transactions; deploy ATMs in some of these areas, amongst others.

However, the apex bank revealed that the PSBs shall not grant any form of loans, accept foreign currency deposits, deal in the foreign exchange market or accept any closed scheme in electronic value as a form of deposit or payment.

The CBN stated that banking agents, telecommunications companies, retail chains, postal and courier service providers, mobile money operators, FinTech, and any other entity whose application is approved on merit are eligible to promote the new scheme.


#Newsworthy…

Three robbers set ablaze after bank attack in Oyo

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Three members of an armed robbery gang have been set ablaze by a crowd of irate residents in the Okeho area of Oyo State.

The Commissioner of Police in Oyo, Joe Enwonwu, confirmed this in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Fadeyi Olugbenga.

He revealed that incident followed an attack on a commercial bank by dare devil armed bandits in Kajola Local Government Area of the state.

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Enwonwu stated that the assailants, who came in a white 18-seater bus, invaded the bank at about 4:58pm on Wednesday with an intent to rob.

He explained that shortly after they arrived in the area, the armed robbers gained entrance into the bank using dynamites and AK-47 riffles shots to blow the bank’s security door.

The police commissioner, however, noted that the robbery was responded to by the Police Tactical teams and collaborative efforts of the vigilante and hunters in the area, stressing that the effort yielded results.

“Consequent upon this, three of the robbers who were arrested when the 18-seater bus had an accident and somersaulted, were, thereafter set ablaze by the angry mob when they attempted to escape the scene of the accident,” the statement said.

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It added, “Immediately the Commissioner of Police got wind of the dastardly acts, he further directed that all the Police Tactical teams, including the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Mobile Police Force (PMF 72) and Police personnel from Okeho Area Command and nearby Divisions should be on the trail of other members of the fleeing robbers who escaped in different directions.”

Enwonwu condemned the dastardly act and assured the residents of Oyo of the preparedness of the police to protect their lives and properties before, during, and after the Sallah celebrations.

He also urged them to go about their lawful businesses without any fear of molestation or threat from any quarters.

The police commissioner insisted that the command was on top of the situation and sought credible information from residents to enable them clamp down on crimes and criminalities in Oyo State.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Profitability threat hit Banks in Nigeria

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The profitability of Nigerian Banks in the medium term may be under threat following rising inflation and increased government borrowing that was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Report gathered exclusively by Noble Reporters Media released recently by Fitch Solutions that the banks are expected to grow in the medium term, but the rate of growth would be determined by the effects of inflation and government’s borrowing from the banks.

The report stated that due to COVID-19 pandemic and a weakened oil sector, there would be a deceleration of client loan growth from 14.0 per cent y-o-y in 2019 to 2.5 per cent in 2020, before a small pickup to 4.3 per cent in 2021.

Similarly, the demand for credit would weaken amid reduced economic activity and elevated uncertainty among consumers and businesses while deteriorating asset quality will make banks more cautious in issuing loans.

In the meantime, Fitch Solutions has revised its earlier 2020 growth forecast for Nigerian banks, including their total banking asset growth. The decision to change the earlier forecast was made out of consideration for the economic shortfalls caused by the pandemic.

Recall that Nigeria’s adoption of the IFRS 9 accounting standards for bad loans had considerably helped to improve asset quality in the banking sector. As a matter of fact, the ratio of non-performing loans had declined by as much as 40.7 per cent between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019.

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Unfortunately, the pandemic and the dramatic fall in oil prices earlier this year, all combined to negate the recent recorded success. This is why banks’ asset quality is projected to deteriorate this year, according to Fitch Solutions. This will also make banks become more cautious about lending.

“We continue to expect the changed minimum loan requirement to help drive client loan growth over the medium term. We have revised our growth forecast from the previous quarter and expect client loans to reach NGN14.9trn in 2020 with growth of 2.5 per cent from 2019.

“Due to economic headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we have revised our forecast for total banking asset growth to 5.3 per cent to NGN44.2trn. Over the medium term, we see average annual asset growth of 12.0 per cent to NGN63.8trn by 2024.

“Nigeria’s ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) tied to the oil sector declined by 40.7 per cent from Q418 to Q419 as oil exports rose by 16.1 per cent in 2019. In turn, the total NPL ratio fell from 11.7 per cent to 6.0 per cent over this period. However, due to the combined economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lower oil price, we expect asset quality to deteriorate this year, making banks more cautious about lending.”


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: CBN reduce interest rates – send directive to Banks Nationwide


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

The rate has been slashed from 9 to 5 percent per for one year, effective March 1, 2020.

This was contained in a circular to banks on Wednesday by the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo.

Similarly, CBN intervention facilities obtained through participating OFIs, Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks, among others would be given a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments.

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This is also effective March 1, 2020.

OFIs have equally been granted leave to consider temporary and time limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okoroafor, said the decisions were part of the bank’s efforts to cushion the effects of coronavirus on Nigerians, businesses and regulated institutions.

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He assured that the CBN would also continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN for the month of May will be held on Thursday.


#Newsworthy…

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64 Bank account link with Obasa’s BVN – Sahara Reporters


Not less than 64 bank accounts have been discovered to be linked to the Bank Verification Number of Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa.

According to SaharaReporters, the accounts registered with various names, are being used to siphon public funds in Lagos.

The BVN reveals that Obasa operates accounts with multiple names in Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa, First City Monument Bank and Wema Bank.

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To conceal his identity, the Speaker changed his name and date of birth in some of the accounts.

Aside from using Ajayi Mudashiru Obasa, he also used Obasa Abdulrahman Gbadunola and Gabriel Adedoyin Savage to register some of the bank accounts.

Some of the companies linked to the BVN include Adesav International Ventures, Fabric Splash Ventures, Swifthill international Ventures and Quick Solution International.

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Others are Quick solution International Ventures, White Honey Enterprises, Cream on Ice Services, A.B DELCO Nigeria Company, and Fabric Splash Ventures, Skye-Macosh Company, Swifthill International Ventures, Silver Section Global, Davedab Global Ventures and Jose-Macosh Company and De Kingrun.

In a series of reports in recent weeks, SaharaReporters had exposed how Obasa awarded contracts to himself using different companies owned by him and how he got the Assembly to approve N258m for printing of invitation cards for the inauguration of lawmakers two months after the event held.


#Newsworthy…

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Keystone bank launches online platform to help SMEs


Keystone Bank Limited has launched an online platform to empower Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) with knowledge to manage and grow their businesses in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lender in a statement disclosed that the programme tagged: “Keystone Bank Online MSME Academy” is aimed at helping SMEs cope with the operational stress of the current pandemic and will serve as an enabler for business owners to create an active online presence, digitalize their product, services and find new ways to connect with their customers.

“One way to identify an SME-centric bank is the length it is willing to go in finding new ways to help SMEs to survive and thrive in the current harsh business environment.

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“Keystone Bank has demonstrated this passion during the Covid-19 crisis by initiating an online platform to empower SMEs with knowledge in managing and growing their businesses,” the bank said.

Participants at the first edition of the initiative held on the 24th of April, 2020 with the theme: “Managing our business cash flow in times of uncertainty”, gave positive testimonials on how relevant and rewarding they found the training. During the training, participants were taken through series of webinars, digital marketing trainings, digital media services and the provision of other value adding business tools to improve business branding, visibility, profitability and easy connectivity with customers.

Speaking on the initiative, Keystone Bank’s Head of MSMEs, Helen Nwelle, said: “It was no accident that Keystone Bank came up with such an initiative because the bank has always had a culture of helping SMEs grow through the provision of diverse business solutions.”

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“This culture is clearly spelt out in our tagline as a bank – WE GROW TOGETHER – because at Keystone Bank we believe that SMEs are the engines of socio-economic transformation as they offer opportunities for jobs and wealth creation as well as income redistribution within our society.

“The current pandemic and its untold impacts has caused a lot of panic in the business scene all around the world and Nigeria is not left out. We are aware that many SMEs are worried about what the future holds for their businesses and how to manage their businesses in order to guarantee business continuity post-Covid-19 crisis. This was why we considered it important to proactively create an enabling environment for them to thrive even in the midst of the pandemic’’

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“This development is no doubt an exemplary one from Keystone Bank and SMEs who desire to grow should consider the Bank as a partner.”

“Other interesting trainings have been lined up for the coming weeks which will be delivered in partnership with seasoned business experts, and promises to be relevant during the pandemic and beyond,” she said.


#Newsworthy…

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CBN stops Banks from sacking staff

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all banks not to retrench workers.

A statement from the apex bank signed by Mr. Isaac Okorafor Director, Corporate Communications said the CBN, Bankers’ Committee decided to suspend lay-offs in banks.

Access Bank has been trending in the media after an alleged video of a town hall meeting between the Managing Director of the bank Herbert Wigwe and the staff.

In the video, Wigwe was heard informing staff of the bank that some contract staff of the bank will be laid off while other staff will have their salaries cut.

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Following the backlash that greeted the video, the CBN on Sunday stated:

“In order to help minimise and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and livelihoods, no bank in Nigeria shall retrench or lay-off any staff of any cadre (including full-time and part-time).”

This decision the CBN said was taken “following special meeting of the Bankers’ Committee on May 2, 2020, to further review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry.”

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The Committee, the CBN noted “deliberated on the issue of the operating costs of banks in view of the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties.”

At the end of the deliberations, it was also decided that “the express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be required in the event that it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any such staff.”


#Newsworthy…

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Access Bank Denies Shutting Branches Nationwide.

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Access Bank Plc has urged its customers and the general public to disregard social media report of its shutting 340 branches nationwide.

Responding to enquiry, its Media Relations officer, Mr Abdul Imoyo, says the online report is misleading.

According to him, “branches were closed at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown.

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As the structure of the lockdown has been relaxed, the branches will be reopened in a phased approach and with adherence to physical distancing guidelines.

“We advised the public when we closed over 540 branches (60 left to operate) in response to our business continuity plan for crisis of this nature. This was further buttressed by the Lagos State and subsequently the FGN’s stay-at-home or work from home order. With the proposed lifting of that order from May 4th, we recognise that the threat of the virus is still out there and are planning to do a phased opening of the branches. So yes an additional 200 branches (bringing the total to 260) would be opened in the first phase. The staff at the frontline are also people’s sons, daughters, wives, husbands e.t.c and we have to be very mindful how we expose them. So staff would also be rotated. We have however made arrangements to pair the branches so customers whose branches are yet to be opened can be served from an alternate branch and those messages are going out to customers over this weekend and by Monday.”


#Newsworthy…

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Pregnant Access Bank Cashier Collapse After Sudden Sack Letter. [Nigeria]

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A pregnant cashier at the Ketu/Ikorodu branch of Access Bank affected by the bank’s mass retrenchment of staff, collapsed on Saturday after hearing of her dismissal, NobleReporters gathered.

The cashier simply identified as Taiwo, is about three months pregnant.

The bank had announced plans to sack its workers as a result of the negative impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

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He said, “Her name is Taiwo. When she got the news today, she collapsed. There were two of them affected by the mass retrenchment from Ketu/Ikorodu Road branch, as of now. We will get to know more on Monday about others who were affected. The Taiwo lady is about two or three months pregnant.

“When she heard the news, she collapsed. It was friends and family around her that rushed her to the hospital.”

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The bank had announced plans to sack its workers as a result of the negative impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, had said that apart from the mass sacking, which would affect about 75 per cent of the bank’s workforce, he would take the lead in having the largest pay cut of 40 per cent.

Access bank plc sacks 75% of its workers after COVID-19 lockdown ease

“I will be the first to take the hit and I’m gonna take the largest pay cut, which would be as much as 40 per cent.

“The rest we would have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort,” he had said.

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NobleReporters gathered that many of the bank’s staff received their sack letters via email on Thursday with shock and grief.

“My fiancee broke down in tears when she heard the news,” the sacked cashier said on the phone.

“We are billed to get married next month. Where do I start now? This is unfair.

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“The sack letter came in on Thursday but I didn’t know. I was doing my job on Friday when someone asked me if I had been laid off. I said no. She asked me to check my email. Behold, the email. I was shocked.

“I was angry with my boss. She told me she didn’t know anything about it. There was nothing I did wrong. Throughout this period, I have been the one fixing all our ATMs that were not running. I get calls at odd hours to work. My boss told me she could not have singled me out for sack. In my branch, I heard another colleague was sacked.

“By Monday, I will hear more about those who were affected. They are still sending out the mail. I tried to console my wife that something better will come. I have ND, HND and BSc but my salary is N75,000. I am not a core staff. Core staff earn as much as N145,000.

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“Normally with my degree, I am not supposed to be getting that low but I just have to accept that so as not to be unemployed. There was no prior notice. There was no warning. It’s not that I was not working diligently. This is unfair.

“This same bank donated millions of naira to fight COVID-19. This same bank gave Singer Naira Marley millions of naira to perform for customers and staff. Naira Marley even tweeted it but we that are working day and night, see what we got now,” he added.


#Newsworthy….

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[Nigeria] Access Bank Reveal Plan To Cut Workers’ Salary.

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Access Bank PLC is planning to cut salaries of its workers to prevent job losses as lockdown occasioned by coronavirus has drastically affected its income.

Sources in the bank told Bloomberg that the reductions were expected to start from May unless business conditions improve.

The sources who said they were briefed on the matter during a conference call, said some management staff would get as much as a 40% decrease in their salaries. NobleReporters learnt

A spokesman for Lagos-based Access Bank declined to comment.

Nigerian banks are facing the threat of rising bad-debt levels as a crash in oil prices and the risk of a naira devaluation coincide with the Covid-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses.

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Access Bank, which acquired rival Diamond Bank Plc last year, had 6,898 permanent staff at the end of 2019, according to a presentation on its website.

The acquisition partly contributed to a 31% increase in operating expenses. Personnel, recruitment and training costs account for more than a third of overheads after the deal boosted employee numbers and resulted in “wage harmonization” across the businesses.


#Newsworthy…

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Access Bank Plans to Sack 75% Workers. [Nigeria]

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The group managing director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, in a leaked video, has revealed the bank’s planned mass retrenchment of its workforce over what he said was the outcome of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Access Bank MD, Herbert who spoke via video conferencing in a town hall meeting with the bank’s staff said those to be affected are 75% of the bank’s staff, most of whom are outsourced and are offering “non-essential services.”

“We probably don’t need as many securitymen as required, even to the fact that we are not gonna have all our branches open between now and December. We don’t need all the tea girls. We don’t need all the cleaners. We don’t need all the tellers etcetera, etcetera,” He said in a leaked video currently making the rounds.

“The second has to do with our professional cost. Now that is one that is very tricky and it is tricky because I do understand and appreciate that its gonna, you know, bring its own pain to staff. We basically have to make the adjustments the same way you sounded when we spoke 10 days ago with respect to basically cutting down cost.

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“I will be the first to take the hit and I’m gonna take the largest pay cut, which would be as much as 40 percent. The rest we would have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort.”

Wigwe’s revelation is coming few weeks after the financial institution donated One Billion Naira to the Nigerian government to help fight Coronavirus.


#Newsworthy…

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PTF speaks on when Banks should resume work amid lockdown ease.

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced that government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday the 4th of May.

This follows the approval of a phased easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to allow for the restoration of socio-economic activities.

However, there would be a 6:00 am to 8:00 pm curfew to regulate the movement of people.

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Giving a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown will be implemented, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, said all government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday.

“For government offices, staff will be allowed to resume from the 4th of May but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days, so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in the offices,” he said.

For financial institutions such as banks, the PTF coordinator noted that they will be allowed to open but only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm, while also ensuring that staff and customers adhere to the hygiene and social distancing measures.

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Aliyu stressed that the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.

“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.

For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.

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Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.

On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.

The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks and other hygiene measures.

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On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.

For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.

Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in home deliveries of food items.

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While partial operations will be allowed for the above sectors, academic institutions were, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.

“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerian Govt demand Former President, Jonathan’s bank statement, 2 others.

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The Nigerian Government has requested for the account statements of former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience, Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources and Rilwanu Lukman, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reports that the banks told to provide the bank details of Jonathan and others include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and New York branches of Deutsche Bank AG and United Bank for Africa Plc.

Nigeria is requesting “all documents concerning any transactions to, from, or for the benefit” of Jonathan and his wife between 2009 and the present day.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was quoted by court documents as saying that information contained in the document will help an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to know individuals in the Process & Industrial Developments Ltd gas deal.

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Although Malami didn’t mention Jonathan as a subject of the EFCC probe, the former head of state appears alongside the ex-ministers in Nigeria’s proposed subpoenas.

“There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria,” Attorney General Abubakar Malami said in court filings submitted on March 24.

He said P&ID had no ability or intention of ever performing the contract, which required the company to build a gas processing plant and the government to supply gas.

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Lorna Schofield, a US district judge, gave Nigeria permission to send copies of its application to the banks, eight of which had been served by April 15. However, the court has not decided whether to give Nigeria access to the documents.

In the court filings, Nigeria said the EFCC has not found direct evidence that the public officers received payments from P&ID or its affiliates.

It said the 10 banks are “likely to have processed US dollar transactions connected to P&ID’s operations as either correspondent banks or the New York branches of foreign lenders”.

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Nigeria hopes to overturn a $9.7 billion judgement awarded against it for a breach of agreement in a gas project.

A spokesman for P&ID said Malami’s application is “nothing but an absurdly overbroad fishing expedition” arguing that the AGF manufactured a claim of fraud and bribery to avoid paying the judgement debt that amounts to about 30% of the country’s foreign reserves..


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] More than 80,000 people apply for CBN N50bn loan in 3 weeks amid lockdown.


In three weeks, over 80,000 applications were received from businesses and individuals after the Central Bank of Nigeria released the guidelines for the N50bn targeted credit facility.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Mr Abubakar Kure, confirmed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.


The CBN had introduced the N50bn Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the guidelines released by the CBN, those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19.


Others are existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the pandemic and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the pandemic.

According to the CBN guidelines, activities covered under the scheme are agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); and airline service providers.


Others are manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN.

Giving a breakdown of the 80,000 applications, the NIRSAL MD said that 40,000 applications were from households while 30,000 applications were received from the SMEs.


He said from next week, the bank would begin the disbursement of the fund to those who met the criteria set by the apex bank.

Kure, who was accompanied by top officials of the apex bank and NIRSAL said, “We have over 80,000 applications out of which 40,000 came from households while 30,000 were from the SMEs.


“From next week, genuine applicants will start receiving alert for their loans.

“Our people are working remotely and disbursements will start next week.”


On the controversy surrounding the payment of N10,000 for business plan before the loan could be accessed, Kure said the management of the bank had shelved the requirement for business plan.

He said, “The issue of business plan was a requirement for the SME applications as stipulated by the CBN guidelines.


“In order to stem further controversy, the management of the NMFB has resolved that the business plan is no longer a mandatory requirement and the third party provision of a business plan is not compulsory.

“We assure Nigerians of adhering to the guidelines as laid down by the CBN.”


Also speaking at the briefing, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, warned applicants against making payments for business proposal.

He said the CBN and NIRSAL MFB had decided to push on with the intervention programmes in order to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians.


He warned that the fund was not a grant, adding that beneficiaries of the fund would be made to repay what they collected based on the terms of agreement.

The N50bn intervention is being financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.

In terms of loan limit, the amount would be determined based on the activity, cash flow and industry size of beneficiary, subject to a maximum of N25m for the SMEs.

Households could access a maximum of N3m while working capital would be a maximum of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Stanbic IBTC bank plc offers customer relief initiatives.


Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, has introduced customer relief initiatives aimed at reducing the unease felt by its customers as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic.

The movements of individuals had to be curtailed to discourage physical contact between people as a way of containing the spread of the virus.


Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has also announced the closure of some of its branches, to safeguard the lives of its customers and employees.

Branches that are operational can be found on the bank’s website www.stanbicibtc.com.


The bank has also encouraged its customers to make use of its digital banking platforms for transactions during this period.

The management of the bank has introduced further relief measures for its customers beginning from April 1, 2020:


• Full Waiver of Merchant Settlement Charge (MSC) for two weeks for all merchants who accept payments using Stanbic IBTC Bank Point of Sale (POS) terminal for two weeks
• Full waiver of Current Account Maintenance (CAM) fees and interbank transfer charges for one month for customers who reactivated their Dormant or inactive accounts
• Waiver of transfer charges on the first five Interbank transfers they effect within the month of April 2020 for other customers with active accounts.

Speaking on the customer relief initiative, Mr Yinka Sanni, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC said the measure was aimed at ameliorating the pains of the customers while also preventing the spread of coronavirus.

He said: “As a responsible financial institution, we are not unaware of the effect of Covid-19, especially on our staff and customers. The decision by the bank to set aside the Merchant Settlement Charge for two weeks for those who use Stanbic IBTC POS terminals, waive current account maintenance fees and free interbank transfers for inactive/ dormant account holders and zero interbank transfer charges for the first five transactions for all other customers within the month of April; is our way of easing the pains and discomfort they are going through during this period.”


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: Naira plunges again, falls to N412 per dollar.


The dollar exchanged for N412 on Monday at the Bureau De Change segment of the market.

This followed a temporary suspension of sale of forex to the Bureau De Change operators in the industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria.


The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria had made a request to the CBN to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in the local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CBN granted the BDCs two weeks market holiday as requested.

According to the BDCs, there had been drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, as businesses were down and many people were not travelling.

The naira had also suffered setbacks as a result of crude oil price that fell drastically in the international market, which raised speculations among the BDC operators and Nigerians in general


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Bank staff test positive. [See Press Statements]


A Fidelity Bank staff who recently returned from a trip to the United Kingdom has tested positive for COVID-19 as confirmed in a statement released by the bank.

Though the Fidelity Bank staff who tested positive for coronavirus has not been at the bank’s facility as he has been self-isolating since he returned to the country, he however brought some consignments for two of his colleagues which were delivered to them individually.


The bank staff who received consignments from the coronavirus patient, have been made to self-isolate and the office where they work has been temporarily closed. No customer was identified in the contact tracing that was carried out.

A statement released by the bank’s divisional head for brand and communications, Charles Aigbe reads;


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: UBA drops N5 Billion to fight pandemic in Africa.


The United Bank for Africa, UBA, has said it would provide N5 billion (U$14 million) to the COVID-19 Relief Support across Africa.

The bank said it would provide the money through the UBA Foundation.


According to tweets on its twitter handle on Thursday, N1 billion of the fund would go to Lagos and N500 million to Abuja.

The bank added that N1 billion would go to the remaining 35 states in Nigeria to fight coronavirus.


It added that N1.5 billion would to Africa countries that had UBA’s presence.

The bank also budget N1 billion for Medical Centres with equipment and supplies

“We Will Provide N5 billion(U$14 million) To COVID-19 Relief Support Across Africa.

“To catalyze a comprehensive pan-African response to the fight against the #Coronavirus pandemic, we’ll provide N5 billion to #COVID19 relief support across Africa through the @UBAFoundation,” it said.


#Newsworthy…

CBN gives N50 Billion credit to affected businesses, households.


A N50bn Credit Facility has been unveiled by the Central Bank of Nigeria – a facility specifically to cater for the needs of households and small businesses that have and will be adversely affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the CBN, those will be eligible for the stimulus package must prove that they, their livelihood and business operations have been adversely affected by the spread of the virus.


Businesses eligible for the scheme are agricultural value chain activities, hospitality, health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies), airline service providers, manufacturing and value addition, and trading.

The maximum amount to be received depending on proof of cash flow of investment size is N25m while households can access N3m with an interest rate of 5 per cent per annum for a maximum period of one year.

The apex bank says facility will be administered by its officers and the NISRAL Microfinance Bank.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Access bank, Dangote to provide 1000-Bed facilities.


Access Bank Plc is teaming up with Aliko Dangote to provide treatment and isolation centers across Africa’s most populous nation as it braces for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The facilities, which will be located across the country of more than 200 million people with a total of 1,000 beds, will be ready within weeks, Access Bank said Thursday in an emailed statement.


They will have Chinese experts and serve as testing, isolation, treatment and training centers, the lender added.

Nigeria has so far recorded 51 cases of the Covid-19 virus, including one fatality. There are fears the spread could become exponential if community infections aren’t curtailed.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Lagos Governor order partial closure of banks.


Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, placed a partial closure on banking activities in the state as part of measures to break the cycle of transmission of coronavirus.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also directed all markets and stores trading in non-essential commodities to close for seven days.


The directive takes effect from Thursday, March 26, a statement from the Lagos State Government added.

Sanwo-Olu advised the organised private sector to take drastic steps as done by the government in the public sector and allow non-essential workers to work from home.


The governor also asked banks and other financial institutions to prioritise online channels for their services to the public, adding that only essential and key senior staff should be allowed to work in the office during the restriction period.

In a televised briefing after State’s Security Council meeting held at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu said the restriction measures were necessary, given the rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lagos.


He said the directive should not be seen as a lockdown on business activities in the State.

He said the guidelines would be reviewed after seven days.


He said, “It is only when you are alive that you can talk about economics and finance. We want to encourage the organised private sector to allow their workers to work from home.

“Banks and other financial institutions are encouraged to prioritise online channels for their services to the public with only essential key staff being in the office during this time. Only key staff should be present.


“We are a subset of a sovereign. We are not a sovereign. This is why we cannot completely lock down Lagos. We need to be considerate.”

Other public places shut by the government include markets, parks, playgrounds, and recreational centres within the state, regardless of ownership.


The directives, the Governor said, did not affect pharmacy shops and all markets where foodstuffs are traded.

“Eateries and restaurants must not accept eat-in customers; they are to serve food in takeaway packages.

“As much as possible, let us all refrain from inter-state travelling of any kind until the worst of the crisis is behind us,” he said.


#Newsworthy…